Florida deputy, 23, fatally shot by fellow deputy in 'extremely dumb and totally avoidable accident'
12/05/2022 2:34 pm PST
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (TCD) -- A 23-year-old sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot over the weekend by his best friend and roommate, who is also a deputy, at their residence.
On Dec. 3, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office announced Deputy Austin Walsh was killed in an "off-duty incident" in Palm Bay. The statement described him as a "treasured member of our BCSO family," and said he had been with the agency since he was 18 years old.
In a recorded video statement, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey spoke about Walsh’s death and said it was "one of the toughest days of my career."
According to Ivey, early in the morning on Saturday, Dec. 4, off-duty Deputy Andrew Lawson called 911 to report he shot Walsh and needed help. Palm Bay Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrived and conducted an investigation. They spoke with Lawson, who reportedly cooperated but was "distraught and upset."
Walsh was found inside the residence dead from a single gunshot wound.
Lawson and Walsh were reportedly taking a break from playing an online game and were talking to each other. Lawson was allegedly holding his handgun, which he thought was unloaded, and "jokingly pointed the gun in Austin’s direction and pulled the trigger."
Lawson fired one round, which struck and killed Walsh.
Ivey called the shooting an "extremely dumb and totally avoidable accident," but said he does not think was "malicious or with intent."
"Austin and Andrew were the best of friends and Andrew is devastated," he said.
Lawson was arrested and taken into custody on a no-bond warrant for manslaughter with a firearm.
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