CLINTON COUNTY — The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office has determined exploding targets, often sold under the brand named Tannerite, were the cause of loud explosion noises reported to the agency on Sunday.
Clinton County deputies began investigating after receiving at least five 911 calls on Sunday between 5:50 pm and 7:15 pm from concerned citizens about explosions and loud noises.
They found the source was a residence in the 600 block of East County Road 300 North where a resident said they were target shooting with firearms during a birthday celebration.
“Participants also shot at a target product called Tannerite approximately ten times,” according to the sheriff’s office. “With the cooperation of the resident, the deputy inspected the area to confirm the shooting was being done in a safe manner.”
Tannerite and other exploding targets are legal to use as long as it’s used as intended and designed by the manufacturer, according to the sheriff’s office.
Tannerite is sold in retail stores where firearms and ammunition are sold, and it creates a loud boom when shot.
WRTV Investigates exposed concerns surrounding exploding targets back in 2014, including an FBI bulletin that said exploding targets could be used by criminals and terrorists to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
WRTV Investigates found they’re readily available and easy for people of all ages to buy off store shelves in Indiana.
Indiana has no restrictions, but stores have their own policies.
Former Indiana Sen. Jim Merritt tried several times to pass legislation restricting the sale of exploding targets, but his efforts failed.
His bill would have required retailers to put the products behind the counter and prohibit the sale to customers younger than 18 years old.
“This substance can be extremely dangerous and this bill would provide common-sense regulations to ensure people are aware of the risk involved in using these products,” Merritt said in 2016. “Allowing these products to be sold on the store floor leads people to believe that these substances are safe, which is misleading and potentially hazardous.”
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WRTV found the products are being misused and abused, because people often use too much, stand too close, or place the product inside something that can create shrapnel.
Jennifer Plank-Greer, of Kokomo, lost her hand at a friend's house in Ohio on May 6, 2012, from a piece of flying shrapnel.
She captured the explosion on her cellphone from 150 yards away and says she was unaware an exploding target had been placed inside a refrigerator.
"I had no idea there was anything like that being used," Plank-Greer said. "The binary compound was used and placed inside the refrigerator, and they shot the refrigerator and blew it up."
Plank-Greer said she had just planned on taping her friend firing a brand new gun.
"It hit me so fast, I didn't even have time to react, and next thing I knew, my hand, my fingers were on the ground," Plank-Greer said.
It's easy to find videos on YouTube of people using the product to blow up items such as appliances and cars.
The U.S. Forest Service banned the targets on its property in five western states, claiming the exploding targets ignited wildfires that cost more than $33 million to fight.
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