A Florida sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot and killed his roommate, a deputy, in what the sheriff called an “extremely stupid but completely avoidable accident.”
Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Lawson called 911 early Saturday to say he had just accidentally shot his roommate, 23-year-old Deputy Austin Walsh, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department. Wayne Ivey said he died from a single gunshot wound.
The sheriff said the two deputies were “best friends.”
Lawson told authorities that he and Walsh had stopped playing online games and were “standing there talking,” while Lawson was holding a pistol he “thought he had unloaded,” Ivey said Sunday.
“At some point during their conversation, Lawson thought the gun was unloaded, jokingly pointed it in Austin’s direction and pulled the trigger,” Ivey said.
“There is no excuse for this tragic and entirely avoidable death,” the sheriff said.
Lawson was taken into custody Sunday on charges of manslaughter, according to the sheriff. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday.
Ivey said Lawson, who had “fully cooperated” in the investigation, was “devastated.” The sheriff called him a “great kid who tragically made a terrible, irresponsible decision that forever affected the lives of so many.”
Walsh, who has worked in the sheriff’s office since he was 18, “has a passion for his job and loves his community,” Ivey said.
“Austin is a fantastic kid,” Ivey said. “Our hearts are broken.”
ABC News’ Will McDuffie contributed to this report.