A Brevard County deputy who mistakenly shot and killed his roommate and best friend, and a fellow deputy, inside their Florida apartment last weekend believed the gun was unloaded when he "jokingly" pointed it at him and pulled the trigger twice, according to the arrest affidavit.
Deputy Andrew Lawson, who was off duty at the time, told investigators, according to the affidavit, that the first time he pulled the trigger, the gun did not go off. He then pulled the gun's slide back and pulled the trigger again, which fired one bullet, which struck deputy Austin Walsh, 23, in the head, and killed him.
Lawson said he thought the gun was unloaded, but that he should have known there could have been ammo in the magazine based on the gun's weight, according to the report. Investigators examined the gun and found there was one spent casing near Walsh's body and one bullet in the chamber, according to the report.
"Austin and Andrew were the best of friends and Andrew is completely devastated over what happened, Sheriff Wayne Ivey said Sunday. "Even with that, there's no excuse for this tragic, avoidable death."
The two were playing "Call of Duty" with friends online and decided to take a break, the report said. At some point after that, Lawson was playing with his gun and "jokingly" pointed it at Walsh, who was standing in the hallway in front of Lawson's bedroom.
Sheriff Ivey said Lawson was distraught about what happened and cooperated with the investigation, but described the shooting as reckless, dumb, completely avoidable, and had now forever changed the lives of two people.
Lawson was arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers and booked into jail under suspicion of manslaughter with a firearm. At his first appearance, a judge issued a $15,000 bond and said Lawson could live with his mother, who reportedly lived in Florida, but outside of Brevard County.
Sheriff Ivey said Walsh had been part of the agency since 2018 and dreamed of becoming a deputy sheriff.
"Austin was such a great kid and our hearts are broken over his loss. He will be deeply missed by our agency and our community," he said.