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Florida Cop Fatally Shoots Friend While Playing With Loaded Gun Like A Fool
Just no excuse for this nonsense.
Saturday morning, Andrew Lawson, a deputy with the Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, shot and killed his roommate, Austin Walsh. The circumstances are both tragic and absurd.
According to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, the two 20-something men were goofing around at their Palm Bay home playing online games. They’d taken a break and were talking with friends when Lawson, holding a handgun for some reason, “jokingly” pointed the gun at Walsh and pulled the trigger. He believed the gun was unloaded. He was wrong, and the 23-year-old Walsh is now dead.
In a Facebook video, Ivey said, "This afternoon I have to stand here and talk about the loss of one of my deputies who I love so much as the result of the reckless actions of another one of our deputies, who I also love.”
After shooting Walsh, Lawson immediately called 911 and the Palm Bay police. He was eventually charged with manslaughter.
You know me. I don’t expect a lot from cops, but even I assumed the average police officer understood that guns aren’t children’s toys. You can’t just point and fire a gun while shouting “Pew! Pew!” because the gun will make that noise for you, and you’ll have just killed someone. Maybe the NRA and Fox News will just blame the video games they were playing.
We’re often lectured about supposed “law-abiding, responsible gun owners,” but it’s pretty damning if an actual police officer lacks the sense to not point a gun at another human being. You’d think that would come up at least once during training. Actors are trained to listen to their scene partners, and I just assume cops are trained not to shoot other cops.
Sheriff Ivey said, "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.” Walsh had worked as a member of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office since he was 18.
"Folks, this unnecessary and totally avoidable incident not only took the life of an amazing young man and deputy but it also forever changed the life of another good young man, who made an extremely poor and reckless decision,” Sheriff Ivey added. Lawson pointed a gun at someone and pulled the trigger. His only real defense against first degree homicide is that he’s a fucking moron. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida and Lawson could face up to 15 years in prison. Ideally, he’ll also lose his job but police unions are weird.
Florida law doesn’t require that you store firearms in a safe manner. The state doesn’t require locking devices, either, which apparently infringes on gun owners’ freedom to prank murder their friends.
News coverage of Walsh’s death claims it’s the result of an “accidental shooting.” This is a frustrating form of gun propaganda. Whenever someone points a gun at someone and fires, we don't feel "accidental" is quite the right word. It seems more deliberate to us.
Initial reporting downplayed the downplayed the killing as an "accidental, off-duty incident," without naming Lawson, who had already admitted shooting Walsh.
I’m a known hater of guns, but I still believe cops should leave their weapons at the station when they end their shift. There are enough “accidents” when cops are on-duty.
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