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Florida deputy, 23, shot dead by his cop roommate who ‘jokingly’ pointed gun at him

A Florida deputy was fatally shot by a fellow cop who “jokingly” pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, thinking it wasn’t loaded.

Austin Walsh, 23, was at his Palm Bay home with his roommate and “best friend” Andrew Lawson when he died Saturday morning after playing a round of video games, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a video statement.

The two were talking when Lawson pointed the gun at Walsh and pulled the trigger. Lawson then rushed to call 911, but Walsh “immediately succumbed” to his injuries.

“Austin and Andrew were the best of friends and Andrew is absolutely devastated by what happened,” Ivey said. And even with that, there is no excuse for this tragic and completely avoidable death.

Lawson was arrested and charged with manslaughter with a firearm. He was incarcerated in the Brevard County Jail. A mug shot of Lawson was not immediately available.

Deputy Austin Walsh, 23, Was Shot Dead Saturday Morning By His Roommate Andrew Lawson At His Home In Palm Bay, Florida

Deputy Austin Walsh, 23, was shot dead Saturday morning by his roommate Andrew Lawson at his home in Palm Bay, Florida

Pictured: Andrew Lawson (Left) At His Brevard County Sheriff'S Office During The Swearing-In Ceremony On May 4. Lawson Stands Next To Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Pictured: Andrew Lawson (Left) At His Brevard County Sheriff'S Office During The Swearing-In Ceremony On May 4. Lawson Stands Next To Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Pictured: Andrew Lawson (left) at his Brevard County Sheriff’s Office during the swearing-in ceremony on May 4. Lawson stands next to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Pictured: The House Where Lawson And Walsh Lived Together. The Two Were Playing Video Games When The Fatal Shooting Happened

Pictured: The House Where Lawson And Walsh Lived Together. The Two Were Playing Video Games When The Fatal Shooting Happened

Pictured: the house where Lawson and Walsh lived together. The two were playing video games when the fatal shooting happened

In The Photo: The Neighborhood Where The Shooting Took Place Over The Weekend

In The Photo: The Neighborhood Where The Shooting Took Place Over The Weekend

In the photo: the neighborhood where the shooting took place over the weekend

Walsh has been a deputy with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for five years since he was 18. Before being sworn in as a deputy, he served as a public safety officer.

His ultimate goal was to eventually become a deputy sheriff.

“Austin was such a great kid and our hearts are broken for his loss,” Ivey said. “He will be sorely missed.”

The sheriff remembered Lawson’s love for his community.

Announcing Walsh’s death and Lawson’s arrest was one of the “toughest” things Ivey has ever had to do, he said. The heartbroken sheriff described his close relationship and love for the two.

1670270958 846 Florida Deputy 23 Shot Dead By His Cop Roommate Who

1670270958 846 Florida Deputy 23 Shot Dead By His Cop Roommate Who

Ivey recalled his close relationship with Walsh and Lawson. He said he knew them “personally” and is devastated

“This unnecessary and unavoidable incident not only cost the life of a great young man and deputy sheriff, but it also changed the life of another good young man who made an extremely bad and reckless decision,” Ivey said.

“I know both kids personally and they were the best,” Ivey continued. “Austin was passionate about his work and loved the community he was so proud to serve. And Andrew, he’s a great kid who unfortunately made a terrible and irresponsible decision that forever affected the lives of so many.”

Ivey said he hopes the heartbreaking story helps others reconsider their actions.

“This tragedy has broken our hearts, and knowing Austin and Andrew as I do, I think – at the very least – they wish there was a lesson in this message somewhere.

“Somewhere that will help save someone’s life. A message that helps someone else not to make the same mistake.’

Walsh Has Been A Deputy With The Brevard County Sheriff'S Office Since He Was 18

Walsh Has Been A Deputy With The Brevard County Sheriff'S Office Since He Was 18

Walsh has been a deputy with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since he was 18

Walsh Previously Served As A Public Safety Officer Before Being Sworn In

Walsh Previously Served As A Public Safety Officer Before Being Sworn In

Walsh previously served as a public safety officer before being sworn in

In The Photo: Walsh With A Field Of His Colleagues

In The Photo: Walsh With A Field Of His Colleagues

In the photo: Walsh with a field of his colleagues

Tributes poured out for Walsh on social media from strangers and close friends who remembered his smile and kind spirit.

“Austin Welsh, I knew from the moment I posted this there was no denying you are going,” Christina Henrie wrote. “No more after-work calls, no more texts telling me to leave [Modern Warfare two]no more nights out and no more joking at work.

“On that note, it means our conversations will be through prayers. This means that you will always be with me wherever I am. This means that you will watch over me and everyone who loves you. Most importantly, it means that the joy, love and laughter you brought to this world will never be forgotten.”

Others remembered Walsh as a friendly face in their community.

“Deputy Walsh was a regular where I work,” Alycia Hellwarth wrote on Facebook. “He always had a big smile on his face and he was always very polite.”

“A boy with a heart of gold and a young man with so much promise,” another person added.

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Jacky

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