A referee was shot in the face by a cannon while officiating during a football game in Castine, Maine, over the weekend.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said an alumnus of the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) brought his own cannon to the game, which took place on Saturday.
Reports said that whenever MMA scores, it is a tradition to sound off a cannon with a blank shotgun shell.
However, the alumnus had the cannon loaded with black powder and something made into a “wad,” the sheriff’s department said.
Video taken at the game showed the moment the cannon was fired as the referee walks along the edge of the football field.
The referee grabs his head, then falls to the ground. Once bystanders realize what has happened, they rush over to help him.
Director of College Relations Jennifer DeJoy told reporters that the alumnus who shot the cannon fired it from outside the fence near the end zone of the field, according to News Center Maine.
Police said the referee was taken to a local hospital and treated by medical staff. Reports said his injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
Once the investigation by authorities is complete, the findings will be sent to the district attorney’s office, meaning that the unnamed alumnus who shot the cannon could face criminal charges.
“One of the game officials was proceeding along the end line when the cannon was fired and was struck by packing material from the cannon,” a statement from MMA President William J. Brennan said.
“The Academy’s president has directed that these devices will no longer be permitted on campus for future events,” the statement concluded.
The college was founded on March 21, 1941, by the 90th Maine Legislature as an “institution devoted to nautical training,” according to the academy’s website.