Tremonton teen dies after being shot by small replica cannon

Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 1:18 p.m. MST

TREMONTON — A 14-year-old boy was killed Monday after accidentally shooting himself in the head with an 18th-century miniature replica cannon in his living room, police said.

The incident happened just after 7:30 a.m. near 500 S. Tremonton St. when Robbie Ostberg was holding the replica cannon. The cannon has a 6-inch barrel and can contain black powder and fire a .50 caliber round, Tremonton Police Chief David Nance said. But it is typically intended for display and is small enough to fit on a mantle or a tabletop.

Police said the teenager pointed the canon at his face to look at it. "At some point in handling that, the cannon fired and struck him in the face," Nance said. He died instantly.

Cameron Kunsman, 14, called Robbie his best friend. He said Robbie would often fill the cannon with black powder and tin foil balls and then fire it.

Investigators were trying to determine what exactly was fired from the cannon and hope to learn more following an autopsy. The victim’s 16-year-old brother was in the same room when the cannon fired Monday, and their father was in another room.

Police said they do not suspect any ill intent and were calling the incident an accident.

Cameron said he was struggling to deal with the death of his best friend and has fond memories of him. "He was a good guy, and he liked to run," he said. "He was very energetic and he played games all the time."

Neighbor Trevor Steinlicht said the teen enjoyed working with his dad on his father's truck and helping around the house.

"He was a nice kid, and never seemed like he was getting into trouble,” Steinlicht said.

Contributing: Pat Reavy

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