Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough deputies: Man accidentally shoots, kills himself in Lithia

LITHIA — His parents were out of town, and 19-year-old Taylor McKenna had two friends over for a marathon night of video games.

The young men played Xbox games early into the morning. They also looked at a handgun that one of McKenna's friends had brought. It was unloaded.

The men went back to their video games.

Deputies say it appears McKenna didn't know that, later, the friend who had brought the gun went into a nearby room and reloaded it. He left it in that room, and at about 2 a.m., McKenna walked into the room, and, according to deputies, picked up the gun and fired a round.

The bullet hit McKenna in the head. He died at the scene.

Deputies believe McKenna thought the gun was unloaded. It doesn't appear he wanted to harm himself, said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

McKenna graduated from Newsome High School last year and lived with his parents in their ranch-style Lithia home, surrounded by goats and geese. He does not have a criminal record.

Family gathered at the house, at 10139 Bryant Road, on Thursday declined to comment.

Deputies are still investigating and haven't released the two friends' names. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office is conducting an autopsy.

McKinnon said there was no evidence the young men were drinking or were on drugs.

"It was just a bunch of young guys playing Xbox," he said.

McKenna's is the second accidental gun death in Hillsborough County this year.

Demarcus Smart, 17, accidentally shot himself in January while hanging out with friends in an abandoned East Tampa house, just a few doors down from where he lived with his mother.

And in St. Petersburg, 16-year-old Anas Jaber was hospitalized in March after his 9-year-old cousin, who has Down syndrome, accidentally shot him in the neck, police said.

In McKenna's case, deputies say the young man broke both tenants of firearm safety.

"You always assume a gun is loaded, until checked," McKinnon said. "And you don't point a gun at yourself or anyone else."

He urged parents to teach their children gun safety — even if they don't own firearms.

"They still might get exposed to guns," he said, "and the mishandling of guns happens a lot."

News researcher John Martin and staff writer Danny Valentine contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Hillsborough deputies: Man accidentally shoots, kills himself in Lithia 04/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.