💥 A man and his son were charged with detonating an explosive

💥 A 34-year-old man was seriously injured in the hail of shrapnel

💥 This is the 2nd time the suspect has been charged with explosives


MANVILLE — Looks like he's a loose cannon, according to court records.

A man who was charged with his son with setting off an explosive device that blew dangerous into a neighborhood, seriously wounding a victim during Fourth of July festivities Saturday night, is a convicted felon whose explosive devices shut down a Labor Day parade in 2019.

Thomas Kaiser, 60, of South Plainfield, and son Erich Kaiser, 28, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, set off a signal cannon near the playground inside Cooper Street Park in the Lost Valley neighborhood, Manville Deputy Police Chief Craig Jeremiah said.

A signal cannon is a device designed to create a large boom and smoke. It is not considered a firework. And it failed with disastrous consequences.

The explosion blew shrapnel into the torso of a 34-year-old man standing about 75 feet away.

The fiery fragments ignited the fireworks that the victim was holding, according to the complaint in the case. He had to be flown by medical helicopter to a hospital.

The victim's identity was not disclosed and police did not provide an update on his condition on Tuesday.

Projectiles from the explosive shattered the windshield of the victim's car in his driveway, punctured holes in the side of his house and caused "extensive" damage to his bathroom, police said.

The flying material also struck two other homes and a second vehicle.

The father and son have been released from custody. New Jersey 101.5 did not know Tuesday whether they had an attorney who could speak on their behalf.

ALSO READ: Double homicide cold case: Plainfield cops want your help

Tom Kaiser (via Facebook)
Tom Kaiser (via Facebook)
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Another holiday ruined

This is not Thomas Kaiser's first time bursting into the news.

In 2019, he was arrested after four devices were found at his home, which was at the beginning of the route of the scheduled South Plainfield Labor Day Parade. Gov. Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy had been expected to march.

The investigation began days before the parade after a suspicious package was found at Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright. It turned out, according to the band that had played there, that the package had been a fireworks gift from Kaiser, a longtime fan of the group.

The Monmouth County prosecutor at the time said that the devices were not fireworks but "rudimentary explosive devices, similar to the size of a cut-up coffee can that had fuses as well as gunpowder in and around it."

Thomas Kaiser pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of prohibited weapons and one count of tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced to a year of probation. Kaiser was forced to surrender his legally owned firearms and purchase permit.

Prosecutors said Kaiser didn't know that making homemade fireworks was illegal and meant no harm.

ALSO READ: NJ school principal and her son die in crash during family trip

Previous reporting by Sergio Bichao and Erin Vogt was used in this report.

(Includes material Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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