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Charges filed in homemade cannon death

A 20-year-old man has been charged in connection with the death of his friend, who was killed after a homemade cannon packed with gunpowder exploded during an illegal fireworks display on July 4.

Andrew Molitor was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and performance of an act in reckless disregard of person or property, a misdemeanor, according to court papers. Both are probationable offenses.

Kacey Barlow, 22, was photographing the cannon from behind a car when it exploded and two metal fragments hit him in the chest, according to court documents. He later died at University Medical Center. Three other bystanders received minor shrapnel wounds, two requiring medical care.

The Clark County coroner’s office ruled Barlow’s death an accident, according to court records.

The cannon, an 18-inch section of 2.5-inch diameter pipe on a metal base, was built by Molitor’s father in 1994. He told police he had fired it several times in the past, but had not done so in years and knew of no reason for its failure.

Molitor told investigators the cannon was the finale of the evening’s fireworks display, according to court documents. He loaded the cannon with about a third of a pound of gunpowder and lit the fuse just after 9 p.m. at his home in the 6000 block of Pooh Corner Court, near Bonanza Road and Sloan Lane.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 20 before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan.

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