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Utah teen likely killed by gases, not projectile from miniature cannon

Published January 30, 2012 4:33 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The miniature replica cannon that accidentally killed a 14-year-old Tremonton boy last week did not fire a projectile at the victim, according to police.

"It appears most of the injury would have been caused from the gases from the discharge of the weapon," Tremonton Police Chief David Nance said Monday.

On Jan. 23, Robby Ostberg was in his living room when the cannon fired in the boy's face, causing massive head injuries. He died in his home, near 500 S. Tremonton St.

Preliminary autopsy reports found no shrapnel, Nance said. Police said gun powder was used to ignite the cannon.

Investigators initially thought the 18th century replica cannon was merely decorative, but discovered its firepower after cleaning and examining it. It has a barrel about 6 inches long and is designed to be loaded with black powder and fire a .50-caliber round, police said after the incident.

No other information was released Monday.