BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Austin Walsh, the 23-year-old Brevard County deputy, was killed in an accidental shooting by his roommate and fellow deputy, according to Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
News4JAX sister station WKMG in Orlando said Sheriff Ivey gave an update in a video statement posted on the sheriff office’s Facebook page on Sunday evening.
According to Palm Bay police, Walsh’s death was related to a shooting reported in the 700 block of Damascus Avenue, in the southwest section of the city.
The Palm Bay Police Department received a 911 call early Saturday from off-duty deputy Andrew Lawson who said that he “accidentally shot his roommate and needed help,” Sheriff Ivey said.
According to police, Lawson said that the two men had taken a break from playing an online game with some of their friends and was “standing around talking.” Lawson said he was holding a gun, which he believed was unloaded, and at some point in the conversation “jokingly pointed the gun” at Walsh and pulled the trigger.
A single round was fired and struck Walsh, according to the investigation.
“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, and as a result earlier today, Andrew Lawson was taken into custody on a no-bond warrant by agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for manslaughter,” Ivey said.
According to the FDLE, Lawson turned himself in on Sunday.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Ivey said Walsh had worked as a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since the age of 18 after several years in its Explorers program, adding the agency was in mourning for him.
Ivey described Walsh as a treasured member of the agency’s family, asking that the public keep him — as well as his loved ones, agency and community — in its thoughts and prayers.
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