Christopher Pekny was an expectant father who was killed before his baby was born when he was manufacturing a gender reveal device that exploded, killing him and injuring his brother. The device was for an upcoming gender reveal party, police said.
New York State Police responded to the report of an explosion just before noon in the town of Liberty in the Catskills and found Pekny, 28, dead. His brother, Michael Pekny, was injured in the explosion and taken to a local hospital. Police did not reveal the brother’s condition.
The Pekny family was known throughout their town for the Robin Hood Diner, which was owned and operated by the family for decades. The gender reveal death was at least the second to happen this month.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Pekny Family Ran a Diner in Town Since 1980 in Livingston Manor, New York
Christopher Pekny was known throughout his small town for the Robin Hood Diner, which the Pekny family has owned since 1980. The diner posted a tribute to him on Facebook in the hours after his death.
“We are deeply saddened and must inform you all of the loss of our dear an beloved Christopher,” the post said. “We appreciate the overwhelming display of love and support that you all have shown. The Robin Hood will be closed for the immediate future. More details will be posted when we have them available. Thank you.”
Several people commented on the post, expressing their condolences and sharing kind words about Chris Pekny.
“Jan my heart is breaking for y’all. I know what your going through. Praying for your family. If there is anything I can do you have my number. I hope and pray that Michael will be ok. Chris was a great guy and he will be missed,” Susie Butler wrote.
Another person spoke about how highly regarded the brothers were in the area.
“My father speaks so highly of Mike and Chris,” Bryan DaParma wrote. “I met them a few times and they are truely two of the most genuine people I’ve met!!”
The diner shared about its history and the family involvement on their Facebook page. The page says:
The Robin Hood arrive in 1955 on back of a big rig, and it has been a neighborhood landmark ever since. The Pekny family bought the diner around 1980 and have been operating it ever since. Grandma (Klara) still cooks breakfasts almost every morning, and her son Peter Sr. is the head chef/bartender/owner/etc. of the establishment. The food is good and affordable and are the drinks in the tavern. The house specials include Shell Steak, Sauerbraten, and Goulash. The soups are hot and made fresh daily, and the coffee is the worlds best.
New York State Police released a statement on the explosion and the investigation into the death and injury.
On February 21, 2021, at approximately 11:55 a.m., State Police Liberty responded to a residence on the Lt. JG Brender Highway in the town of Liberty for a report of an explosion. An investigation revealed that Christopher Pekny, age 28, from the town of Liberty was building a device to be used at a child gender reveal party. The device exploded resulting in the death of Christopher Pekny and injuring his brother Michael Pekny, age 27, also of Liberty, who was transported to Garnet Medical Center in Middletown, NY. This incident remains under investigation by the New York State Police and the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit.
Pekny Is One of Many People to Die From a Gender Reveal Party Mishap & the Creator of Gender Reveal Parties Asked People to Stop
Pekny is among a growing list of people to die due to a gender reveal party. A 26-year-old Michigan man, Evan Silva, died when he was struck by shrapnel from a device being used to reveal a baby’s gender earlier this month, according to The New York Post. A pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party ignited a wildfire that burned thousands of acres of Southern California.
After the wildfire, the blogger who unintentionally sparked a storm of gender reveal parties which spun off from her traditional approach is asking people to stop. Jenna Karvunidis held one of the first gender reveal parties inn 2008, according to CNN. She cut a cake to reveal her baby’s gender with pink frosting.
The concept took off, but the gender reveal methods became more extreme and dangerous. She wrote on Facebook following the wildfires.
“Stop it. Stop having these stupid parties,” she wrote. “For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.”