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Florida mansion arson victims were shot, investigators say

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Victims in Florida mansion fire were all shot, authorities say
Torched Tampa Bay, Fla., mansion is owned by former tennis star James Blake
Tampa Bay mansion fire was arson, with fireworks scattered around, officials say

A deadly fire in a Tampa Bay, Fla., mansion took an even darker twist Thursday when officials said all four people found dead inside had been shot.

The roughly 6,000-square-foot home, which is owned by former tennis star James Blake but which he rents out, went up in flames Wednesday morning after neighbors reported hearing an explosion, officials said.

Blake, who officials said was out of state at the time, had been leasing the home to a family who are feared to be the victims. The bodies of the two adults and two teenagers have not yet been officially identified, however. 

Officials said Wednesday the fire had been intentionally set and was fueled by an unknown accelerant. Officials also found fireworks throughout the home.

After a day of investigation, the Hillsborough County sheriff's office announced that officers had recovered a gun at the scene belonging to Darrin Campbell, 49, a member of the family who leased the home, according to the Tampa Bay Times. (The sheriff's office did not respond to messages seeking comment after hours Thursday.)

Officials also announced Thursday that Campbell had bought "several" gasoline cans and a "large" amount of fireworks in the days before the fire, the Tampa Bay Times reported. They did not call the incident a murder-suicide but did say no suspects were being sought. 

The bodies were found in the bedrooms -- the two adults in one bedroom, and two teenagers in their respective rooms.

The Associated Press reported that Blake, the former tennis pro, bought the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home in 2005 for $1.5 million, according to Hillsborough County property records.

The home is in the upscale Avila subdivision; according to the AP, many well-known football, baseball and tennis players have bought homes in the exclusive subdivision, which has a country club and golf course.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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