Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County investigators: Parents of Palm Harbor boy shot in the head forgot they had gun

PALM HARBOR — The parents of a 12-year-old boy who shot himself in the head last week forgot they kept a gun in their closet, according to Pinellas County sheriff's investigators.

Jacob Larson was discovered by his stepfather, 50-year-old Joseph Newton, about 11 a.m. Friday at the family's home at 435 Laughing Gull Lane. He had a gunshot wound to the head, but is still alive and remains hospitalized, deputies said.

The shooting is being investigated as accidental because deputies say they found no evidence that it was a suicide attempt or a result of bullying.

A day after the shooting, the boy's half-brother, Mark Larson, told the St. Petersburg Times the incident was a "mystery" because he didn't think the family had a gun in the home.

"They are not ones to have guns," Larson said. "They are so against that."

According to detectives, Jacob's mother, 42-year-old Tracy Newman, and his stepfather said they forgot they stored a small .25-caliber handgun in a box in the closet. Newman told detectives she received the gun six years ago from her employer and she had never checked it or fired it.

The gun was described as an old, small semiautomatic weapon of European make. Detectives think Jacob retrieved the gun sometime after 7:40 a.m., when his mother left for work. He typically leaves for school about 8:30 or 9. He was discovered when his stepfather got home from work about 11.

No charges have been filed, deputies said, and Newman and Newton are being cooperative.

Emily Nipps can be reached at or (727) 893-8452.

Pinellas County investigators: Parents of Palm Harbor boy shot in the head forgot they had gun 04/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 20, 2009 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks


    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater


    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]