Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woman kills boyfriend while playing with gun, witness says

Authorities say Mandy Avis, 20, inset, was playing with a .22-caliber gun with her boyfriend, Michael Ward, 23, on Wednesday in their apartment in building on Second Avenue N in St. Petersburg. She pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger, believing it wasn't loaded, they said, but it was.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office / Times staff

Authorities say Mandy Avis, 20, inset, was playing with a .22-caliber gun with her boyfriend, Michael Ward, 23, on Wednesday in their apartment in building on Second Avenue N in St. Petersburg. She pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger, believing it wasn't loaded, they said, but it was.

The revolver was a new purchase, bought in Tampa by 23-year-old Michael Ward less than a day before it fired the bullet that killed him.

He showed his girlfriend, 20-year-old Mandy Avis, how to handle and shoot the gun, her roommate said.

About 6 p.m. Wednesday, police said, Avis and Ward were playing with the .22-caliber gun when she pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger, believing it wasn't loaded. A bullet hit him in the chest.

On Thursday morning, their roommate, Ashley Mcallister, stood in front of their apartment on Second Avenue N and described how quickly Ward faded away.

"He turned heavy, just pale, and then just gone," Mcallister, 25, said. A minute before, it seemed, he was running from the room, yelling, "You shot me, you shot me," she said.

Her boyfriend, Diontei Arthur, tried to carry Ward to the car, but he couldn't hold him up. An ambulance took him to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, but Ward died on the way.

Mcallister said the couple weren't arguing. They'd been playing with the gun since Ward bought it, and he'd showed Avis how to load and handle the weapon.

"Her family isn't into guns," Mcallister said. "They don't keep guns in the house."

Mcallister works with Avis at a Waffle House in St. Pete Beach. The couple had been dating for about a year, Mcallister said, and after a breakup Ward came back to their apartment about two months ago.

They had been smoking marijuana the night Ward was shot, police said.

"It wasn't intentional," Mcallister said. "It wasn't like they had issues, it wasn't like she was a bad girl. It was just a stupid accident that was played off the wrong way."

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Records, neither Ward nor Avis had ever been arrested for a crime in Florida. Avis, who faces a charge of manslaughter, was transported to the Pinellas County Jail, where she remained Thursday without bail.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at cwiseman@tampabay.com or (727)-893-8804. Follow @clairelwiseman on Twitter.

Woman kills boyfriend while playing with gun, witness says 12/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'

    Blogs

    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store

    Accidents

    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108