A replica cannon.
A six-inch toy cannon ended the life of Utah teen Robby Ostberg. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Producer/Flickr)

A tragic misfire has claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy in Tremonton, Utah, reports Deseret News. The model artillery gun either blew up for fired a tin foil projectile into the face of Robby Ostberg as he was looking into the barrel of the .05-caliber toy cannon. Autopsy results pointing to the exact cause of death will be made available later this week.

Toy cannon incident shocks grandparents

Lucille Hertel, the grandmother of Robby Ostberg, is stunned by the tragic series of events regarding her grandson’s toy cannon.

“It was an accident that shouldn’t have happened. It was just a toy,” she said to local media on Tuesday.

Robby Ostberg’s death occurred Monday at his Tremonton home. Ostberg, who reportedly was mechanically inclined and enjoyed tinkering with machines, was in the living room playing with the toy cannon. While he was attempting to find the source of an obstruction that was preventing the cannon from working, it exploded without warning.

According to Tremonton police, either shrapnel or a projectile struck the 14-year-old in the face, killing him. No additional information has been released about the circumstances of Robby Ostberg’s death. The autopsy will be filed in several days, reports indicate.

“We don’t know all the details yet,” said Hertel.

According to Robby Ostberg’s grandfather, Garry Hertel, the toy cannon has a six-inch barrel that fires items three feet or less.

‘A shy, quiet boy’ who loved to tinker

As funeral arrangements began to materialize, Hertel remembered her grandson as being “an extremely shy and quite boy,” noted Deseret News. Ostberg reportedly loved disassembling engines and taking things apart to see how they worked.

“He was one of these kids who was very mechanically inclined. He could fix any lawn mower, almost any motor,” Hertel said. “He never got into trouble. He wasn’t a troublemaker or anything.”

Ostberg was not attending school

The 14-year-old Ostberg reportedly was not enrolled in school, according to his grandparents. Records from Box Elder School District near Tremonton showed that Robby Ostberg was last enrolled in March 2011. He dropped out before completing the eighth grade, despite the efforts of his father, Allen Ostberg.

“His father couldn’t make him stay in school,” Lucille Hertel said. “He just quit going.”

Robby’s grandparents say he had gotten gunpowder out of a cabinet his father kept locked.

“His dad didn’t know he had (gunpowder) because he thought he had everything locked up and couldn’t get at it,” said Lucille Hertel.

Local coverage of boy killed by toy cannon


ABC News

Deseret News


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