Boy Fatally Wounded, Four Arrested Following Tannerite Stunt Gone Wrong

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NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

Tannerite is a fun and safe product when used correctly. However, when it is purposefully misused it can have severe and deadly consequences as four Oklahoma residents learned the hard way this past Sunday.

According to authorities, on Sunday afternoon 22-year-old Brandon Martin placed roughly two pounds of Tannerite inside a stove. He then shot the stove with a rifle. The result was that of a bomb exploding. Shards of metal were sent flying through the air.

Tragically, the door of the stove flew off and hit 8-year-old Kyle Phelan in the head, fatally wounding him. Kodi Branham, the boy’s stepfather, was hit by shrapnel in the leg, but he would survive the injury.

Deputies for the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department arrested Martin on complaints of manslaughter. Additionally, Fred and Mary Martin, and a man named Paul Griffin were arrested for obstructing the investigation.

“It’s tragic enough that you’ve got an 8-year-old that’s passed away, but you’ve got adults now lying to us about what’s happened,” sheriff Ron Lockhart told NewsOn6.

“It’s not an accident,” he continued. “Any adult should know whether to put children in danger or adults in danger.”

The ATF is also investigating the incident as the Tannerite was used as a bomb.

In the video below the spokesperson of Tannerite clearly goes over the rules of safe usage. Rule #3 clearly states, “Do not place target in, on or under any object that will throw debris.”

You know, there are no excuses for not following the rules. Just like one is instructed not to play with firearms, the same holds true for explosives. They’re not a freaking toy!!!

Thoughts and prayers for the boy and his family. Hopefully this serves a wake up call for anyone out there who is irresponsibly using Tannerite and/or firearms.

What are your thoughts on this tragedy?

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Jeff June 30, 2017, 2:00 am

    As my man Tjsotomayor once stated “Play a stupid game get a stupid prize”, as tragic as this is, what we’re the adults thinking hmm let’s put an explosive inside a stove and let’s see what’s the worst than could happen….. no offense I luv my firearms but there’s just no excuse for stupidity, the adults get what they deserve. A young child lost his life, now it’s time to face the consequences, but more gun control and legislation cannot and will not stop the criminal and the mentally challenged!!

  • Charles December 16, 2016, 7:19 am

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Roman Smith August 15, 2016, 9:41 am

    Ok folks lets do the countdown……
    Motorcycle helmet laws protect who? With one on you are a projectile, without one you just go “splat”. This one is for the insurance companies.

    Gun control in its various levels. There is no evidence that anyone is safer with strict gun control measures. In fact the opposite is true. This one goes to our government attempting to eliminate a armed civilian population.

    Pain medications and the doctors that prescribe them. An epidemic that far surpasses the death toll due to firearms. Laws virtually nonexistent and those that exist are not enforced. Pharma, the inventor of OxyContin, is the largest privately held pharmaceutical company in the world. No board, no stock holders, no oversight. They are the largest heroin dealers in the world.

    Knee jerk reactions to isolated incidents conducted by ignorant or sick individuals is tantamount to closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. If businesses conducted themselves the way our government does they would be bankrupt. Yes it’s possible for Walmart to develop a system that tracks every last penny and avoids all theft. They don’t because it’s too expensive and the cost vs loss ratio doesn’t make economic sense.

    Wake up politicians, no matter how much you spend and no matter how many laws you inflict on the law obiding public, you will never stop tragic incidents such as Sandy Hook. Look at France, if it happened here would you be drafting laws to outlaw trucks? Wake up, we are in a economic war. They buy a pressure cooker for $14.95 and we spend billions trying to stop them from doing it again.
    “Anyone willing to trade their freedom and liberty for security deserves neither” …… Benjamin Franklin

  • LONERANGER February 20, 2015, 9:43 am

    WHY WAS NOT THE STEP FATHER Kodi Branham AS WELL CHARGED, HE WAS THE CUSTODIUAL PARENT WHO ALLOWED THE YOUNGSTER TO BE EXPOSED ??????

    • J.B. January 20, 2017, 12:56 pm

      He was too busy calling a lawyer to sue “stunt” coordinators.

  • mtman2 February 17, 2015, 2:23 pm

    Look…..a quart jar of gasoline inside a that same stove if shot with either an incendiary round -or- any spark from a fmj,
    would cause a huge explosion and fireball.
    One of the most dangerous things is when WE let kids mow the lawn and refill the gas tank near a redhot exhaust with smoldering grass that could ignite the pouring(or spilled) gasoline; burning the child or adult alive as the flame follows the pouring gas back up into a regular receptacle. Of course they now have special “approved” receptacles which would be safer than open pour ones. But who uses them all the time?
    Still the gas tank on the lawnmower if close to empty and the pour misses is an explosion and severe burns waiting to happen.
    And millions do it every day, some done correctly, but most the wrong way yet the BATFE is not on it- as you can’t be omnipresent like GOD.
    Yes those adults above were stupid and naive but they now well know it, more regs can’t cure the stupid things people will do!

    • TomC June 13, 2017, 2:44 am

      Liquid gasoline in a container isn’t explosive — hell it’s just barely flammable. You could shoot a quart bottle of gasoline with any sort of round and have damn little chance of even starting a fire.

      Now, pour that quart of gasoline into the stove and give it time to evaporate and fill the stove with vapor, THEN you could get an explosion out of it.

  • DJS588 February 16, 2015, 8:22 pm

    I wonder when the hearings will start in Congress, not to mention the States, to declare Tannerite ILLEGAL?

    • TomC June 13, 2017, 2:31 am

      Yawn. Of all the stupid things that any government (federal, state, or local) might want to outlaw, Tannerite would top my list of Who Gives A Damn. Yes, the crap is fun to play with if you have lots of money to waste accomplishing nothing at all useful, but the simple fact is that most of the Tannerite that is sold is going to be abused by Darwin Award wannabes.

  • DJS588 February 16, 2015, 8:19 pm

    I wonder when Congress will start the hearings to make Tannerite illegal?

  • Russ February 16, 2015, 3:45 pm

    What are my thoughts?
    Just another S.H. BLANNELBERRY special, showing how Darwin’s theory of superior gene selection works.

  • Whyawannaknow1 February 16, 2015, 2:29 pm
  • dave February 16, 2015, 1:02 pm

    Wow. I didn’t know you could do that with Tannerite. Kewl! Now I know how to get rid of those broken down appliances out behind the shed.

    Too bad about the kid though. I guess that guy never heard of a ‘safe distance’…. Moron.

  • Jim Pierson February 16, 2015, 11:58 am

    I am sure Martin regrets his actions but only one thing can be said about this. What a stupid irresponsible dumbass !!!!!!.

  • Kurt February 16, 2015, 11:55 am

    “HEY, Y’ALL…WATCH THIS!!”

    Prayers for the boy’s family.

  • Richard February 16, 2015, 11:39 am

    I can’t find my instructions! Call me blankety-blankety or whatever because all along I’ve been trying to control my behavior from tantrums to throwing things to etc. Maybe I should start blaming – parents, school, the almighty, or …. But then maybe whatever instructions I did get was ignored?

  • Rob February 16, 2015, 11:31 am

    And these types of people are legally allowed to own Firearms???

    • TomC June 13, 2017, 2:35 am

      Not for long in this case if the system actually worked — I’m sure the case was settled by now, but hopefully the district attorney had the guts to insist on staying with a felony charge even if he let the defendant bargain down the penalty.

  • WiscoGunner February 16, 2015, 10:31 am

    YouTube is full of videos of people using Tannerite incorrectly…blowing up mobile homes, cars, old TV’s and so on. You see it being put inside all sorts of objects rather than using it as directed–as a target that you place on top of something and shoot the container. I am not the first to predict that Tannerite will be banned by the BATF. This reckless behavior is the same thing causes local gun ranges to be closed. People that disrespect the laws regarding substances like Tannerite and the rules of gun ranges continue to ruin the ability of people with common sense to enjoy shooting sports.

    When you go to the range, follow the rules and if you bring in things to use as targets, clean up your mess thoroughly before you leave. Please instruct your children in courtesy and common sense at the range and don’t be afraid to ask it of others if they are not being good stewards of the range.

  • Ralph Bosen February 16, 2015, 10:02 am

    Where is it written that a 22 yr. old man naturally acts and thinks as an adult? We all know that he should and by law is considered an adult. However, how many fill that expectation? Knowingly or not, these ‘boys’ committed a stupid act and a serious crime by allowing a child to be exposed to possible and obvious danger. We all have the God Given Right to make a choice! However, we all have the responsibility of facing the consequences of those choices! Now Martin has to face the consequences of his choice!

  • Ed February 16, 2015, 9:08 am

    All you have to do is go to YouTube to see all the things people do that are dangerous and incredibly stupid. Looking ahead at the consequences of things seems to be a lost art. Parents, as you teach your kids to do things, go over the consequences of stuff in a calm logical manner so they get into the habit of doing it in their decision making. I love shooting tannerite while long distance shooting and I would really hate to see it banned because of such thoughtlessness.

  • JT February 16, 2015, 9:04 am

    I’m willing to wager that the consumption of alcohol was a precursor to this tragic event.

  • Bee February 16, 2015, 8:26 am

    “Hey everybody, watch this!” Never ends well, and is always a audible warning that injuries are about to occur.
    Unfortunately, humans do very stupid things, DUI’s, diving into unknown water depths, etc., etc.

    • onewithcommonsense March 9, 2015, 3:14 pm

      You forgot ” hold my beer” before “watch this”. Its people like this that give us all a bad name. I shoot tanerite all the time. It can be very fun and dangerous at the same time. The difference between myself and this story is i follow all the safety rules and nobody ever got a scratch. These people were stupid.

  • SteveInMN February 16, 2015, 8:07 am

    Welcome to Tulsa! I was soooo glad to escape that Hillbilly Hades!

  • Ketchum Kenny February 16, 2015, 8:06 am

    What’s the friggin point? I don’t get the whole ‘Let’s shoot something and watch it blow up’ mentality. I never looked at a firearm as a toy. I’ve always treated my weapons as tools used to put food on the table or defend my life. I zero in each weapon at the start of the season, and once I am on red, I put it up until it is needed for its intended purpose. Don’t have the money either to waste ammo on ‘Blowing stuff up’.

    • mark February 16, 2015, 8:37 am

      And, like the old story of the bad apple ruining the barrel of apples, it’s idiots like this guy who give fodder to the anti-gun folks. They use things like this to “prove” to the country that guns are too dangerous to allow people to own. We all know it’s the numbskull behind the gun that does stupid things but such idiots are not portrayed as such. Instead, they’re portrayed as “average” folks like us, i.e., responsible gun owners who shoot for recreation and hunting when, indeed, we are not like them.

    • Smitty February 16, 2015, 11:25 am

      Ketchen, while I appreciate your limiting your use of your firearms as tools, there are many of use who also shoot for recreation. Since you commented on the story you must have a computer. Do you ever use the computer for recreational purposes? Since you commented on this story I’d consider that a recreational use. Do you watch a TV watch anything except the news? That other use would be considered recreational. Do you use your car other than to drive to and from work? Anything else would be considered recreational. These all could be considered tools and by your reasoning should not be used for recreational purposes. Also do you practice with your firearms? That could be considered recreational. If you don’t practice how do you maintain your ability to shoot well enough to put food on your table.

      Please don’t bad mouth those of us who use their firearms for recreation. We are not, I repeat, NOT bad or stupid, we just like to have a little fun while we keep up our proficiency with our guns.

      • Kevin February 16, 2015, 1:32 pm

        Smitty is wise beyond his years!!!

  • AR-PRO February 16, 2015, 7:42 am

    It amazes me how people can do such stupid things. I sell tannerite in my shop and I always tell my customers to follow the instructions to a “T”! Now some DC dimwit will look to ban these in this age of government control.
    Just like anything else, all it takes is some dumbass – not following directions – yelling “hey, watch this!” to take the life of an innocent child.

    • TomC June 13, 2017, 2:39 am

      Maybe you should find some old lawn dart sets to sell in your shop — and put in a drive-thru liquor counter while you’re at it.

      The idea of selling Tannerite and cautioning people to follow the safety rules is a farce (but you knew that already didn’t you)

  • miles February 16, 2015, 7:09 am

    Common sense isnt common anymore its really rather rare in my experience. That said stupid people would realize that being in the general area of a giant frag IED is a bad idea.THEY WERE BLINDED BY THE LIGHT/ drunk on fun

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 5:38 am

    These inbred ignoramuses are the reason TNT sales are strictly regulated.
    I’m not surprised though, except that it took this long for some idiot to perform a tragic incident like this with the stuff.
    The annual procession of fourth of July fireworks users to our nations hospitals after playing with explosives should have served as a clue as to what happens in these scenarios.

  • C. Cole February 12, 2015, 9:50 pm

    Sad all the way around but I must ask, where has our common sense gone?

    • RFS February 16, 2015, 6:52 am

      COMMON SENSE is ”NOT” common!!!!!!!

      • mark February 16, 2015, 8:31 am

        And that’s the truth, for sure!

  • Bruce - Da Squirrel Hunter February 12, 2015, 1:43 pm

    When common sense is lacking in any recreational activity, you always see tragedy occur. People like to try things that they think are neat or cool; but in reality they open the door for potential great bodily harm as in this case. What seems like a fun or cool idea cost the life of an 8 year old. We can always caution people, but in true nature; people think bad things only happen to other people and it won’t happen to me because I’m to cool for any of that drama. Sadly people will continue to lose life and limb because they don’t either follow proper directions or safety rules or apply simple common sense in their desired activities. This current example is just another wasted life.

  • Scotty February 12, 2015, 2:42 am

    Stupid is as stupid does. Ignorance of the instructions posted on any product regarding its proper use is not an excuse. It’s too bad an 8-year-old paid for the stupidity of adults.

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