Make us your home page

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 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

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

    David Taylor, with his father David Taylor Sr., was killed earlier this month in Syria while fighting for a Kurdish militia.