A Tacoma man says he was ‘playing around’ when he pointed his revolver at a friend and pulled the trigger, killing him.
Tanielu Lotovaivai, 19, says he didn’t realize it was still loaded. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter Tuesday afternoon for the death of Jalon Bea.
Prosecutors say on Oct. 11 Bea, 17, was sitting in a parked car when Lotovaivai pointed a .38 caliber revolver towards him, eventually shooting him in the chest.
It happened in a parked car outside a home near South G and South 45th Street.
According to court documents, Lotovaivai helped take Bea to the hospital but then took off because, he told prosecutors, he was scared. He turned himself in to police on Monday.
Detectives believe the defendant attempted to unload the revolver prior to passing it around the car, but failed to remove at least one round from the cylinder. The defendant told detectives that this was the first gun he had ever owned.