UPDATE | Boyfriend charged with manslaughter in accidental death

Police say 22-year-old Joseph A. Armas was unloading a hunting rifle when it went off.

Police arrested 22-year-old Joseph A. Armas on manslaughter charges after they say he accidentally shot his girlfriend, Ashley McClelland, in the chest at an apartment in Port Orchard.

McClelland was transported to Tacoma General Hospital where she later died. She was 20.

The incident occured on Sunday at McClelland’s apartment on Sidney Avenue. According to certificate of probable cause filed Wednesday in Kitsap County, police say Armas was trying to unload a hunting rifle when it fired, striking McClelland. Armas has a prior felony conviction and is prohibited from handling firearms.

Port Orchard police made contact with Armas and McClelland around 7:36 p.m. outside Harrison Urgent Care in Port Orchard, after their vehicle ran a stop sign en route to the hospital. A South Kitsap Fire and Rescue crew responded and transported McClelland to the hospital in Tacoma while administering first aid, the Wednesday press release from the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team states. KCIRT is a consortium of local law enforcement agencies.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office determined McClelland’s death was caused by a gunshot injury to the chest, according to the release.

Armas was arrested Tuesday night in Thurston County on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and manslaughter in the first degree, a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison. He is being held on $600,000 bail.

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