Mandy Avis, 20, charged with manslaughter after shooting and killing her boyfriend, 23-year-old "Mikey Ward". She said she did not know the gun was loaded when she pulled the trigger and that it was an accident.
St. Petersburg, Florida - The family of Michael "Mikey" Ward is grieving Thursday and trying to come to terms with his shooting death.
"It's tearing me and my family apart," says Ward's mother Jenise Adkins. "I'm so numb, but I hurt. I know I'll never see him again."
However, Ward's family also questions the account of the shooting given by his girlfriend Mandy Avis and her friends. "They're going to be on her side, because it's her friends," says Mikey's younger sister Felicia Ward.
St. Pete Police investigators are calling Wednesday's fatal shooting an accident, but one involving negligence.
STORY: Woman says she accidentally shot and killed her boyfriend
They say Ward, Avis, and two other friends were playing around with a revolver that Ward had just purchased days before. They were passing it around and pulling the trigger. Then Ward went into the bedroom and apparently loaded the gun. Avis came in and picked it up.
"She presumed it was still unloaded and I guess as a joke pointed at him and pulled the trigger and of course it fired and killed him," said police spokesman Mike Puetz. Ward was hit at close range in the chest.
Avis is charged with manslaughter and her family is working on finding an attorney. Today her brother asked the judge to lower her bail.
"She has a lot of family here and a safe place to stay," he said. "She has no criminal history. She's a hard worker."
Avis remains in the Pinellas County Jail with a $75,000 bond. Avis's family declined to say more outside the courtroom.
Ward's relatives are left with the prospect of a Christmas without Mikey, and perhaps a lifetime of questions. His mom simply puts it this way.
"What happened to him is not right."
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