Austin Walsh who was a 23-year-old deputy at the Brevard County Sherrif’s office in Florida was shot accidentally to death by his roommate and best friend deputy Andrew Lawson. The two were in Palm Bay, off duty at the time of the accident. They had just taken a break from playing online video games. Under the impression that it wasn’t loaded, Lawson pointed his gun playfully at Walsh and pulled the trigger.
According to a report, A single shot was fired and struck Walsh fatally. Lawson called 911 with immediacy and reported the incident. Walsh had succumbed to the bullet wound by the time the officers reached. Following the investigation, Lawson was taken into custody and charged with manslaughter.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County announced and explained the incident in a news conference. The sheriff has expressed his utter distress and pain following the “clearly dumb” and avoidable accident. Not only did it cost the life of a good young deputy but also irrefutably altered the life of another man, who is essentially good but had made a very “poor and reckless decision.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is in charge of investigating the incident. They took Lawson to Brevard County jail under a no-bond warrant on Sunday. Lawson is understandably distraught and devastated after having accidentally killed his best friend and colleague. However, the law is taking its course and he has been duly charged with manslaughter.
Austin Walsh had been with the agency from the age of 18 and before that he was a volunteer at the youth explorer program. Sheriff Ivey says that the avoidable accident was the worst incident of his career. It is a deep loss for the agency and the community. Ivey said, “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,” He also said, “If nothing else, I pray there is a lesson learned from this tragedy.”