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Man shoots self in head playing Russian roulette, police say

From staff reports
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 04:26 PM

A 26-year-old man shot himself in the head during a game of Russian roulette at a St. Petersburg home early Saturday, police said.

Donnie McLendon was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital after being treated at St. Anthony's Hospital, St. Petersburg police said.

Investigators received conflicting reports and want to talk to McLendon, whose condition has improved, said Mike Puetz, a police spokesman.

"We're hopeful to talk to the young man in the hospital and verify their version of events," Puetz said.

According to police, Daniel Mckee, 22, supplied the .44-caliber handgun and one bullet and took part in the game with McLendon and Thomas Rady, 29, at 1110 32nd Ave. N.

Mckee and Rady told investigators that first McKee and then Rady put the gun to their head and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.

McLendon wasn't so lucky.

Police responded to a 2:15 a.m. call of a person shot at the home. Officers found the house vacant with a trail of blood leading from inside to outside, police said.

Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found in the house, police said.

A few moments after police arrived, they received a report that a man had been brought to St. Anthony's Hospital with a bullet wound to the head.

Police said Mckee, Rady and Mckee's girlfriend, who was sleeping in another room at the home when the shooting took place, picked up McLendon and carried him to Mckee's car and drove him to the hospital.

Mckee told investigators he was house-sitting at the residence for a friend, police said. Mckee and Rady told police they been drinking and smoking marijuana.

At first, the pair told investigators the shooting was the result of a home invasion. After detectives did follow-up interviews, they said that McLendon was shot as they played Russian roulette, police said.

The firearm was recovered along with a spent casing from under the front seat of Mckee's car at the hospital.

"At this point, everything they told us of what happened (involving Russian roulette) seems plausible," Puetz said.

After he was treated at St. Anthony's, McLendon was transported to Tampa General.

No charges have been filed, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.

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