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St. Petersburg teen dies after accidentally shooting himself in head, police say

Published Jan. 11, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — Last summer, a week after his mother succumbed to cancer, Alex Shaw watched his father die.

He was there in the early morning of June 18 when a group of armed men stormed his house at 7014 Orpine Drive N, demanded money and prescription drugs, then shot 41-year-old Richard Shaw.

Alex never spoke publicly about the death of his parents — a sweeping tragedy that his uncle Kenneth Shaw later described as "trauma on a massive scale."

On Wednesday night, Alex Shaw accidentally shot and killed himself.

The 18-year-old and his friends were hanging out on the back porch of a home at 733 71st Ave. N about 6:30 p.m. when he began to show off a .38-caliber revolver and passed it around, police said.

"He told them that he carried the gun in such a manner as to keep one round out of the firing chamber to prevent an accidental discharge," said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

Shaw told his friends it was safe, but no one wanted to fire it to be sure.

Then Shaw — apparently intent on proving to his buddies that nothing would happen — held the gun against his head and pulled the trigger.

Shaw's grandparents and an uncle were inside the home at the time. Someone called 911 and paramedics soon arrived, but it was too late.

Shaw leaves behind a brother, Trevor, the only surviving immediate family member after the deaths of his mother, Tory Shaw, and his father.

Extended family members declined to comment Thursday.

Though he was a witness in the criminal case against Charles C. Stone, 28, and Justin Maurice Hart, 24, — the two men charged in Richard Shaw's killing — authorities said Alex Shaw's death would not damage the criminal case.

Two other men are believed to have been involved in Richard Shaw's homicide and remain at large, police said.

Meanwhile, homicide detectives and the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office continue to investigate the circumstances of Alex Shaw's death.