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Man accused of dumping gun in Tampa pond after roommate shot to death

Donald Mason Jr., 38, told deputies his roommate had swung a knife at him during a fight at the Tampa apartment they shared, an arrest report said.
Donald Mason Jr., arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his roommate, told deputies the man had swung at him with a knife.
Donald Mason Jr., arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his roommate, told deputies the man had swung at him with a knife. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Mar. 21, 2022|Updated Mar. 21, 2022

TAMPA — A Tampa man was fatally shot March 12 at his Tampa apartment and his roommate has been arrested on a charge of throwing the gun into a nearby pond, an arrest report said.

Deputies responding to a call about 11:45 p.m. found Aaron Taylor Jr., 38, shot in the chest at the Columbia Palms Apartments, 1902 E 131st Ave., according to the report. Taylor was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The 911 caller said someone had been shot and hung up, the affidavit said. Deputies re-established contact with the caller, later identified as 38-year-old Donald Mason Jr. Mason said he had been involved in a fight with Taylor and Taylor swung a knife at him, the report said.

Deputies found Mason in a truck at the front gate of the apartment building and spoke with him. He told them he had just returned from driving to a pond where he threw the handgun used to shoot his roommate, the report said. The pond is about three-fourths of a mile southwest, off St. James Place Drive.

Mason was arrested March 13 on felony charges of tampering with physical evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was released on $9,250 bail.

Mason served eight months in prison in 2004 for cocaine and marijuana charges and for throwing or shooting an object into a car or building, according to state Corrections Department records.

Taylor served two years in state prison starting in 1999 on a charge of sexual battery on a minor under 12 and 20 months in prison starting in 2006 for driving with a suspended or revoked license, state records show.