(NEW YORK) — A Florida sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot and killed his roommate, a fellow deputy, in what the sheriff called an “extremely dumb and totally 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, who died from the single gunshot wound, according to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
The sheriff said the two deputies were “the best of friends.”
Lawson told authorities he and Walsh had taken a break from playing an online game and were “standing around, talking,” while Lawson held a handgun which he “believed he had unloaded,” Ivey said Sunday.
“At one point in their conversation, Lawson, thinking that the gun was unloaded, jokingly pointed the gun at Austin’s direction and pulled the trigger,” Ivey said.
“There is no excuse for this tragic and totally avoidable death,” the sheriff said.
Lawson was taken into custody on Sunday on a manslaughter charge, according to the sheriff. His arraignment was set for Monday.
Lawson, who was “fully cooperative” in the investigation, is “distraught and devastated,” Ivey said. The sheriff called him a “great kid who sadly made a horrible and irresponsible decision that has forever impacted the lives of so many.”
Walsh, who had been with the sheriff’s office since he was 18, “was passionate about his job and loved his community,” Ivey said.
“Austin was such a great kid,” Ivey said. “Our hearts are broken.”
ABC News’ Will McDuffie contributed to this report.
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