Federal Way man charged with manslaughter in girlfriend’s shooting death

The young couple had been playing around with a Taser and a handgun, which both thought was unloaded, according to King County prosecutors. However, the 21-year-old victim was struck and killed by a round that remained in the chamber of the handgun.

A 21-year-old woman was killed last week when she was shot in the face with a handgun that her boyfriend believed was unloaded while the pair were teasing each other with the firearm and a Taser inside his Federal Way apartment, according to King County prosecutors.

Chris Tavita, 23, was charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter and remains jailed in lieu of $750,000 bail, jail and court records show.

His girlfriend, Faavale Muipu, died from a gunshot to the head, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Federal Way police were called to an apartment complex in the 2400 block of South Star Lake Road just before 10 a.m. on July 5 for a report that a woman had accidentally shot herself in the eye, charging papers say.

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Tavita allegedly convinced his younger sister and brother to tell police Muipu accidentally shot herself while spinning the gun around on her finger. His younger brother later called a detective and explained what really happened, prompting Tavita and his sister to do the same, according to the charges.

After police say Tavita acknowledged what happened, he told detectives Muipu had a Taser and playfully teased him with it, saying she was going to use it on him, the charges allege. He said that he would shoot her if she did, according to charging documents.

The magazine had been removed from the handgun, but a round had already been chambered and it struck Muipu in the face when Tavita pulled the trigger, the charges say.

The gun apparently belonged to Tavita’s older sister’s boyfriend and police recovered it from a kitchen counter, charging papers say. The Taser was found in the living room, where Muipu was shot, the charges say.

Muipu was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where she died later that afternoon.

“This tragedy is a direct result of Tavita’s willingness to engage in incredibly dangerous conduct and disregard the lethal consequences,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons wrote in charging papers.

Tavita does not have any prior criminal history, the papers say.

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