Exploding gender-reveal device kills dad-to-be who was building it, New York cops say


A father-to-be was killed Sunday morning after a device meant for a gender reveal party exploded in New York, police say.

Christopher Pekny, 28, of Liberty was building a device for a gender reveal party just before noon when something went horribly wrong: The device exploded, New York State Police said in a news release.

Pekny — who officials said was the soon-to-be dad, per WABC — was killed in the blast.

His brother Michael Pekny, 27, was injured and taken to a hospital in nearby Middletown.

New York State Police and the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit are investigating the incident. No further information was released at the time.

Liberty is roughly 100 miles northwest of New York City.

Gender reveal parties — in which parents use baked goods, confetti, smoke bombs and other items to announce the sex of their unborn children — became wildly popular in the late 2000s.

Blogger Jenna Karvunidis is credited with popularizing the trend after revealing the sex of her child by cutting into a cake filled with pink icing in 2008, The Guardian reported.

Gender reveals evolved over time, becoming more and more extravagant — and occasionally deadly. Karvunidis has since spoken out against these kinds of parties, explaining that they “overemphasize one aspect of a person.”

”It just exploded into crazy after that. Literally — guns firing, forest fires, more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby,” Karvunidis wrote in a 2019 Facebook post.

“Who cares what gender the baby is?” she asked, including a photo of her daughter in a blue blazer in pants. “PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!”

In another example of a gender reveal gone wrong, Pamela Kreimeyer, a 66-year-old grandmother, was killed at her Iowa home in 2019 after a homemade gender-reveal device containing gun powder exploded, ABC News reported.

Metal shrapnel went flying, striking Kreimeyer in the head and killing her. Authorities said her family had inadvertently made a “pipe bomb,” according to the outlet.

Earlier this month, a 26-year-old man was killed by shrapnel when a “small cannon-type device” exploded after it was fired in celebration at a backyard baby shower in Michigan, McClatchy News reported.

And last year, a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used at a gender reveal celebration in California started the El Dorado wildfire that burned thousands of acres across the southern part of the state, McClatchy reported.


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