CLEARWATER — A report of gunfire led police Saturday to the arrest of an 18-year-old and the discovery of chemicals used in explosives, forcing the evacuation of four houses.
Andrew Autry Mason was charged with drug possession and making and discharging a destructive device after police searched his family's home at 1117 Woodside Ave.
Police also referred charges of child abuse to the state attorney for his mother, Laura Mason, 49.
The Department of Children and Families took custody of an unidentified juvenile living in the home, which police described as unsafe and "very dirty with animal feces and urine throughout."
Karen Gauvreau, 62, was taking her regular morning walk on Saturday when she heard a gunshot and arguing coming from the house. She called police, who arrived about 9 a.m.
"It's scary — really scary," she said.
By Saturday afternoon, neighbors had gathered to watch dozens of fire, police and federal authorities still searching the property. Pinellas property records shows the home, valued at $250,000, was bought in 2001 by Laura and Gerald Mason. Neighbors said the family has troubled the neighborhood before.
Alice Carey, 72, said Andrew Mason poured dog shampoo in the gas tank of her husband's station wagon several years ago. The couple chose to prosecute, and Mason has been sending them money to pay for the $650 damage.