The Brevard County Sheriff reports that 23-year-old deputy Austin Walsh was accidentally shot and killed on Saturday by his roommate, who is also a deputy. According to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, “This afternoon I have to stand here and talk about the loss of one of my cops who I love so much as a result of the reckless actions of another one of our deputies who I also adore.”
Ivey claimed in a video posted to Facebook that Walsh and his roommate Deputy Andrew Lawson were at a Palm Bay residence early on Saturday when the shooting took place.
With a few of their pals, he and Austin were taking a break from playing an online game and were instead just kind of standing about talking. At one point during their chat, Lawson aimed a handgun he was holding at Austin in jest and pulled the trigger because he thought it was unloaded, according to Ivey. Lawson was carrying a weapon that he thought was unloaded.
Ivey said that only one gunshot was fired and that it hit Walsh, killing him. Lawson dialed 911 to request assistance right away, and then he phoned Palm Bay police. According to the sheriff, FDLE was contacted to conduct an investigation, and Lawson has now been charged with manslaughter.
On Sunday, he surrendered to authorities. “Andrew and Austin were quite close friends, and he is heartbroken over what occurred. Even with that, Ivey insisted that there was no justification for the unfortunate and completely preventable death.
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According to the sheriff, Walsh joined the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office when he was 18 years old and had previously participated in its Explorers program. Ivey claimed that his organization is grieving. Additionally, he hopes that this tragedy serves as a lesson.
“Folks, this needless and entirely preventable tragedy not only claimed the life of an incredible young man and deputy, but it also permanently altered the life of another excellent young man who had made a terrible and careless choice, Ivey added. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida and carries a maximum 15-year jail sentence.