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Palm Harbor 12-year-old remains in coma; gun ownership a mystery

PALM HARBOR — As 12-year-old Jacob Larson lay comatose in a hospital bed with a gunshot wound to the head Saturday, his half brother wondered where the gun came from.

Jacob was found shot at his mother's home Friday, with a handgun nearby.

Doctors were purposely keeping him in a comatose state to prevent swelling, said Mark Larson, Jacob's half brother.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies are treating the shooting as accidental and are still investigating, spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said.

Detectives have not publicly identified the owner of the gun found next to Jacob, she said.

But his half brother doubts that the gun was routinely kept in the home.

Jacob lives primarily with his mother, Tracy Newman, 42, and stepfather, Joseph C. Newman, 50, at 435 Laughing Gull Lane.

He spends every other weekend in Oldsmar with his father, Allan Larson, 63, and his half brother, Mark Larson, 35.

Neither Jacob's mother nor his stepfather owns a handgun, Mark Larson said Saturday. Besides Jacob, no one else lives at the Newmans' Palm Harbor residence.

"That's why it's such a mystery," Larson said. "They are not ones to have guns. They are so against that."

Larson said he and his father own guns but keep them locked. None is missing, he said.

Jacob's parents divorced six years ago. Larson said Jacob, who attends Palm Harbor Middle School, was saddened by his parents' divorce but seemed happy and got along well with his stepfather.

Jacob's mother is a nursing assistant and his stepfather works for Frito-Lay, Larson said. They were holding a vigil at All Children's Hospital Saturday, along with Allan Larson,

Following federal privacy laws, a hospital spokeswoman declined to provide any information.

Mark Larson said he had not heard details of his half brother's condition or prognosis.

Palm Harbor 12-year-old remains in coma; gun ownership a mystery 04/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 18, 2009 10:31pm]
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