Advertisement
  1. News

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.
Published Dec. 13, 2013

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Scientology’s international spiritual headquarters in downtown Clearwater is anchored by the Flag Building, on left. An elevated walkway connects the building to the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church’s first purchase in the city in 1975. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The mysterious deals could reshape downtown Clearwater.
  3. Clearwater City Council members react to Tampa Bay Times reporting showing companies tied to members of Scientology bought 101 acres of downtown commercial property in three years. Times  |   (2017)
    We showed the politicians a map of the land now owned by buyers tied to Scientology. Here’s what they said.
  4. About 400 demonstrators protest the Church of Scientology in front of City Hall in April 1980. The church has a complicated history with the city, from its secret arrival in 1975 to its recent flood of downtown property purchases. PIERSON, DAVE  |  St. Petersburg Times
    The church arrived in secret in 1975. Here’s what happened next.
  5. The church has amassed 60 properties in Pinellas County since arriving in 1975.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Booked on Friday on probation violation charges, 61-year-old Gerald Souders died on Saturday.
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Troopers say the 28-year-old driver was involved in two minor accidents before causing the crash that killed a Largo man.
  8. Move over, Honeycrisp: New apple to debut at grocery stores
  9. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  10. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister [CHRIS URSO | Times]
    Yes, that’s an "R" next to his name on the ballot. But if you dig deeper, Sue Carlton asks, does the sheriff bleed blue? And a follow-up: Does it matter?
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement