David Pressley, a Georgia man who had friends record him on their cell phones while he was attempting target practice on a lawn mower that he had filled with explosives, lost a leg when the incident turned tragic. Pressley had filled an old lawn mower with three pounds of Tannerite, an explosive material that contains a combination of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. The 32-year-old Monroe resident lost his left leg below the knee.
Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman told WSB-TV 2 that users are supposed to put less than a pound in the target and stand at least 100 yards away. Tannerite is typically used for exploding targets for firearms practice. When a high-velocity bullet hits the object, it explodes, letting the shooter know that he actually did hit the target. Pressley, according to deputies, used three pounds of Tannerite in his target and only stood 25 yards away.
Lydiah Mays, a neighbor who lives across the street from Pressley, stated that the impact of the explosion shook her whole house and that she could hear him screaming. She thought that the sound was that of a bomb going off.
“It shook the whole house so I thought it was not very normal. I heard him [Pressley] scream and so I came downstairs and we were all like looking out the front window.”
The incident took place at about 3:50 p.m. on Saturday in the 2200 block of Emmett Doster Road.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that David Pressley’s two friends were trying to assist him when deputies arrived on the scene. They had put him into a vehicle and made it down to the bottom of the driveway. He was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Mays commented on the incident.
“You would’ve had to be on drugs or something to think it was a good idea to play with that [the explosives] and try to blow up a lawnmower.”
Walton County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Craig League said that although Tannerite is dangerous for amateur use that serious injuries resulting from it are very rare. Typically, deputies in the area receive two to five calls a week related to someone using the explosive.
11 Alive News writes that Internet video demonstrations using Tannerite have become very popular with some showing the use of up to 100 pounds at a time. Pressley was apparently attempting to make one of these videos.
11 Alive was also able to obtain a copy of the video that was taken by Pressley’s friends. They describe Pressley as wearing a tactical vest, a ball cap, and sunglasses during the incident. He is seen shooting a semi-automatic rifle towards the lawn mower for approximately 30 seconds. During that time he unloads approximately 20 rounds. On the last shot, the lawn mower explodes in a water vapor and shrapnel can be seen flying in multiple directions.
That is when Pressley can be heard shouting that he has been hit.
“I blew my leg off! Oh, [expletive]!”
Someone else can also be heard shouting to call an ambulance. The video ends at that point.
The sheriff’s office says that the use of Tannerite is legal and so no charges will be filed in the case.
Sheriff Chapman states that he hopes that others will learn from Pressley’s experience.
Pressley is currently at Grady Memorial Hospital recovering from his injuries.
Chief League commented on Tannerite’s frequent use in the Walton County area.
“If you hear a loud boom and it shakes your home, your windows, and the china in your cabinets rattle around, then there is a good chance one of your neighbors is shooting Tannerite.”
[Image via Shutterstock]