Florida Deputy Fatally Shoots Fellow Deputy While Playing With Gun: Sheriff

Authorities say an off-duty Florida deputy “jokingly” pointed his gun at a fellow deputy ― thinking the weapon was unloaded ― and shot and killed him.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Austin Walsh was at his Palm Bay home with his roommate, Brevard County Deputy Andrew Lawson, early Saturday morning when Walsh suffered a single gunshot wound, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a video address Sunday.

The pair had been playing online games and were taking a break and talking when Lawson allegedly pointed his firearm at Walsh and shot him, in what Ivey called an “extremely dumb and totally avoidable accident.”

Lawson called 911 requesting help, but Walsh is believed to have died immediately from his injuries, Ivey said. Walsh was 23.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Palm Bay Police Department have been the sole agencies investigating the shooting death, according to Ivey.

“Austin and Andrew were the best of friends and Andrew is completely devastated over what happened,” Ivey said. “Even with that, there is no excuse for this tragic and totally avoidable death.”

Lawson was arrested Sunday on a no-bond warrant issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for manslaughter with a firearm, Ivey said.

Walsh joined the sheriff’s department when he was 18, after serving several years as a member of the department’s Explorers program for teens and young adults, according to Ivey.

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