Teen charged in accidental shooting death of friend

Teen charged in accidental shooting death of friend
Tanielu Lotovaivai

TACOMA, Wash. -- A 19-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend in Tacoma on Friday.

According to the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, Tanielu Lotovaivai was "playing around" with his revolver, which he believed to be unloaded, when he pointed it at 17-year-old Jalon Bea and pulled the trigger, shooting him in the chest.

Lotovaivai had been parked in a car with several people inside the car and others, including Bea, standing outside of it. According to the Prosecutor's Office, immediately after he fired the gun Lotovaivai told those around he was sorry and didn't know it was loaded.

Lotovaivai reportedly helped get Bea to the hospital but left before police arrived because he was scared. He turned himself in three days later.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, detectives believe Lotovaivai tried to unload the revolver before passing it around to friends in the car but accidentally left at least one bullet in the cylinder.

“This is a sad example of why you should never point a gun at anyone unless you intend to shoot,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a press release.

Lotovaivai was ordered held on $250,000 bail during his arraignemnt Tuesday afternoon.