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Saturday, Nov 18, 2017
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Police: Gun that killed boyfriend treated like plaything

ST. PETERSBURG — The gun authorities say a woman was holding when she fatally shot her boyfriend Wednesday evening was treated like a plaything in the house the couple was sharing with another couple, St. Petersburg police said Thursday.

Mandy Marie Evelyn Avis, 20, was charged with manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend, Michael Ward, 23, at 1945 Second Ave. N.

According to St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz, the couple had been in the house for roughly 18 months, with Ward recently purchasing a firearm. Another man and woman also lived there.

Ward frequently played with the gun while it was unloaded, Puetz said,

“It was treated like a plaything — doing fast draws, things like that,” Puetz said.

But Wednesday, Ward had reloaded the gun and put it on a nightstand in the bedroom he shared with Avis, Puetz said. She picked it up, thinking it was unloaded, pointed it at Ward and fired, Puetz said.

Ward suffered a single wound to his chest and was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he died, authorities said.

The man and woman with whom Ward and Avis were living said the two had not been fighting before the shot was fired, Puetz said.

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