Father-To-Be Killed By Explosive Device Intended For Gender Reveal

An effort to delight family and friends at a gender reveal event proved deadly for a Sullivan County man. CBS2's Tony Aiello reports.

Video Transcript

MAURICE DUBOIS: An effort to delight family and friends at a gender reveal event, proved deadly for a Sullivan County man. It happened yesterday afternoon in the Catskills town of Liberty.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: New York State Police say that a device that was intended to shower colored powder instead blew up. CBS 2 News' Tony Aiello, reports.

TONY AIELLO: At the Livingston Manor Diner owned by the victim's family, candles and flowers symbolize the heartbreak his friends and family feel. New York State Police say 28-year-old, father-to-be, Chris Pekny was preparing for a gender-reveal event at this home in Liberty.

While preparing a practice device intended to explode in a cloud of colored powder, the device exploded early, killing Pekny. Flying shrapnel wounded his brother Michael. State Police say there was no malicious intent with the explosive device, and it's being investigated as a tragic accident.

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TONY AIELLO: Gender reveals like this one in Somerset, New Jersey sometimes flirt with danger. Police in Australia released video of a car rigged to spew blue smoke for a baby boy. Unfortunately, the car also went up in flames. In 2019, a grandmother-to-be was killed at this home in rural Iowa when a gender reveal explosive device blew up. And the US Forest Service says this gender reveal pyrotechnic created a massive forest fire.

Here in Sullivan County, friends are going on social media to remember Chris Pekny as a big-hearted, fun-loving, kind person. His family released a statement saying they're heartbroken at his loss, but they are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community. In Livingston Manor, New York, Tony Aiello, CBS 2 News.

MAURICE DUBOIS: We learned Pekny's brother suffered shrapnel injuries to his legs and his torso. He was taken to a hospital in Orange County for treatment.