A Florida sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot by his roommate, a fellow deputy, over the weekend, in what the sheriff described as a “tragic and totally avoidable death.” Austin Walsh, 23, was killed Saturday in Palm Bay by his roommate Andrew Lawson, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said Sunday in a video statement on Facebook.
The roommates, who were taking a break from playing video games with friends, were talking when Lawson “jokingly” pointed a handgun he thought was unloaded at Walsh and pulled the trigger, Ivey said. A single round was fired and fatally struck Walsh, the sheriff said.
Lawson called 911 saying he accidentally shot his roommate, Ivey said. When officers arrived, they found Lawson “fully distraught and devastated.”
Lawson was taken into custody on a no-bond warrant on a manslaughter charge by agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and transported Sunday to the Brevard County jail, Ivey said.
“Austin and Andrew were the best of friends and Andrew was completely devastated over what happened. Even with that, there is no excuse for this tragic and totally avoidable death,” Ivey said.
In a Facebook post, Ivey said Walsh had worked as a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since the age of 18.
Ivey said he loved both Walsh and Lawson and said both of the deputies were “good kids.” He called the shooting a “clearly dumb and avoidable accident.”
“Folks, this unnecessary and totally avoidably incident not only took the life of an amazing young man and deputy, but it has forever changed the life of another good young man who made an extremely poor and reckless decision,” Ivey said.