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Alexander Shaw, teen son of murdered man Rick Shaw, dies after gun discharges

6:50 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Another sad episode for a St. Petersburg family seemingly cursed by tragic events this past year.

18-year-old Alex Shaw -- who lost his mother to cancer in June and then witnessed his own father's murder in their north St. Pete home just eight days later -- has died.

The teenager shot himself accidentally, say witnesses.

"It's been one tragedy after another for this family, undoubtedly, and this is just one more," said St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz.

Around 6:30 Wednesday night, police say Alex was at his grandparents' home on 71st Avenue North. His grandfather and uncle were inside at the time.

Alex, they say, was sitting on the back patio talking with some friends. Detectives say he was showing them how he handled his .38-caliber handgun in way to make it less dangerous to carry.

"No round in the chamber," Puetz says he told them.

But then in an effort to convince them, Alex apparently raised the weapon to his head and pulled the trigger.

It fired a single bullet that took his life.

"There was nothing... no intention on his part to harm himself," said Puetz, "In spite of the misfortunes he had seen over the past year or so, he was still in good spirits. Nobody in his immediate family or friends... nobody thinks this is anything else but an accident."

Alex's horrible death compounds what has already been a tragic period for the entire Shaw family.

In June, Alex's mother Tory died of cancer. Then just eight days later, armed suspects broke into the Shaw's home on Orpine Drive. Alex's father Richard confronting the masked gunmen and was shot to death. 

Photo Gallery: Home invasion security camera pictures

Within a week, Alex had lost both of his parents, one to a prolonged illness and the other to a sudden act of violence.

Police say since his father was killed, Alex started to carry a weapon for self-protection.

"It's very heart-wrenching to realize what this family has gone through and now they have this latest tragedy to deal with," said Puetz.

One family. Seven months. Three lives lost.

"It is a family tragedy, yes. And I feel deeply sorry for the family," said a neighbor who identified himself as Matt Smith.

"I couldn't imagine going through what he went through," said another neighbor, Naomi Ballard, "and then for that to happen to me, would just be too much for me, I guess, to handle."

Police say paramedics tried to revive Alex, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The incident is still under investigation.

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