A gut-wrenching accident occurred over the weekend when a cop in Florida accidentally shot and killed his best friend in a joke that turned into a horror story…
Brevard County deputy Austin Walsh (pictured above, left) was spending his weekend like any other in his Palm Bay home with his roommate, Andrew Lawson (pictured above, right). The two spent Saturday morning playing some video games, but sadly their carefree game day would ultimately end in tragedy.
According to a video posted to the Facebook page of Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Andrew decided to play a joke on his best friend by pointing a gun at him and pulling the trigger while the two had a conversation. Horrifically, the gun went off and Austin was shot. From what Sheriff Wayne Ivey says in the video, the trained policeman believed the gun to be unloaded before he pulled the trigger, but it wasn’t, and Austin “immediately succumbed” to his injuries. He was only 23 years old.
Austin had been employed at the sheriff’s office since age 18 and had plans to move up in the field before his death. Sheriff Ivey knew both of the men very well and shared in the update video this was the “toughest” thing he’s ever had to give a statement on — but held onto the fact this was a completely avoidable accident:
“Austin and Andrew were the best of friends, and Andrew is completely devastated over what happened. Even with that, there is no excuse for this tragic and totally avoidable death. Austin was such a great kid, and our hearts are broken over his loss. He will be deeply missed.”
Continuing, Wayne spoke about the tragic outcome of the incident for both individuals:
“This unnecessary and avoidable incident not only took the life of an amazing young man and deputy, but it has also changed the life of another good young man who made an extremely poor and reckless decision. I personally know both of these kids and they were the best. Austin was passionate about his job and loved the community he so proudly served. And Andrew, he’s a great kid who sadly made a horrible and irresponsible decision that has forever impacted the lives of so many.”
The heartbroken sheriff believes both men would’ve wanted there to be a lesson learned from all of this, however:
“This tragedy has broken our hearts, and knowing Austin and Andrew as I do, I think they would – at the very least – want there to be a lesson somewhere in this message. Somewhere that helps save someone’s life. A message that helps someone else not make the same mistake.”
Andrew was arrested and charged with manslaughter with a firearm for shooting his best friend. He was booked into Brevard County Jail shortly after the incident without issue.
You can watch the entire statement (below):
Such a heartbreaking story, but it settles as a grim reminder that guns are an extremely dangerous weapon and should always be treated as if they’re loaded to avoid tragic incidents like this one.
Our hearts go out to Austin’s family, friends, and loved ones. May he rest in peace.