A Florida deputy “jokingly” pulled the trigger twice and shot his roommate and best friend, a fellow police officer, in the head after playing Call of Duty, according to an affidavit.
In a video announcing the arrest of Deputy Andrew Lawson, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey called Saturday’s fatal shooting “a very dumb and completely preventable accident.”
Lawson, 23, made a preliminary appearance Monday on a manslaughter charge in the death of Austin Walsh.
Walsh, also 23, died at the scene on Saturday morning at the apartment he shared with Lawson in Palm Beach.
Confirmation Taken by ClickOrlando station Lawson and Walsh said they were taking a break from playing the popular shooting game Call of Duty and were chatting when Lawson grabbed a Glock 34 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Lawson said he “jokingly” believed the gun had discharged when he first pointed it at Walsh and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire.
Claiming he was joking, Lawson pulled back the slide, cocked the gun and pulled the trigger again, according to the sheriff’s office.
This time, the Glock fired a single shot, striking Walsh in the head and killing him.
Lawson called 911 at 1 a.m. and told the dispatcher that he had shot his best friend.
Responding officers found Lawson waiting outside his home and arrested him. Walsh was found dead in the hallway outside the bedroom.
Lawson said “he still believed the firearm was discharged, but should have known the weight of the magazine containing the ammunition could have been in the firearm,” the affidavit said.
Ivey said Lawson was “distraught” and “devastated” when first responders arrived, and he cooperated fully with the investigation.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this needless and completely preventable incident not only took the life of a wonderful young man and deputy, but it forever changed the life of another good young man who was very poor and made a rash decision,” Ivey said.
The sheriff said Walsh had been with the agency since he was 18 years old.
“Austin was a wonderful boy and we are heartbroken at his loss. He will be greatly missed by our agency, our community and our prayers are with his family,” Ivey said.
Lawson’s bond was set at $15,000 in court Monday. He must live with his mother and must not possess a firearm or ammunition.
Lawson could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of murder. He is due back in court on January 5, 2023.