State Attorney Phil Archer Expresses Condolences to Family of BCSO Deputy Austin Walsh After Tragedy

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family of Deputy Austin Walsh, the men and women of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, and everyone who has been touched by this heartfelt tragedy.

In the weeks and months ahead, senior prosecutors will receive and carefully review the final investigative reports from the Palm Bay Police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Brevard County Medical Examiner.

While we understand concerns surrounding the incident and its possible disposition, those records cannot be made available by our office before a formal charging decision is made and criminal procedure requirements are met.

As the investigation continues and moves through the criminal justice process, our office will maintain its longstanding policy of not offering public comment on cases pending before the Court.

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WATCH: Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey provides an update about 23-year-old Deputy Austin Walsh, who was killed in a tragic accident early Saturday morning.


BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Yesterday morning, our agency announced that we had lost one of our own, 23-year-old Deputy Austin Walsh, who was killed in a tragic accident.

Austin had been with our agency since he was 18, having served as a public safety officer until he attended law enforcement academy and then as a deputy sheriff in our west and south precincts.

Prior to being employed with our agency, Austin served and volunteered with our agency as a member of our explorer program for several years as he loved the field of law enforcement and had always dreamed of becoming a deputy sheriff.

Austin was such a great kid, and our hearts are broken over his loss! He will be deeply missed by our agency, and our prayers are with his family.

Unfortunately for us, that is not where this tragedy ends, as Austin was fatally killed in an accidental shooting by his roommate, Deputy Andrew Lawson.

Folks, this is one of the toughest days of my career as 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 and who has been a good kid his entire life.

In fact, this may be one of the toughest things I have ever had to do, but this afternoon I wanted to give everyone an update on what took place and also a recent development as a result of the incident and investigation.

The incident occurred in Palm Bay, and the investigation was fully and independently conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Palm Bay Police Department.

So what we know at this point is that during the early morning hours on Saturday, the Palm Bay Police Department received a 911 call from off-duty deputy Andrew Lawson who reported that he had accidentally shot his roommate and needed help.

When officers from Palm Pay PD arrived, they were met by off-duty deputy Andrew Lawson who was fully distraught and devastated.

Officers discovered off-duty deputy Austin Walsh inside the residence, where he had apparently succumbed immediately as a result of a single gunshot wound.

Lawson was fully cooperative in the investigation that revealed he and Austin had taken a break from playing an online game with a number of their friends and were just kind of standing around talking.

Lawson was holding a handgun that he believed he had unloaded, and at one point in their conversation, Lawson thinking that the gun was unloaded, jokingly pointed the gun in Austin’s direction and pulled the trigger.

According to the investigation, a single round was fired that struck Austin, taking his life.

Andrew immediately called 911 to summon help for Austin, but unfortunately, the single round was a fatal shot.

Folks, I want to be clear that while this was an extremely dumb and totally avoidable accident, there is nothing at the scene or otherwise that currently indicates it was malicious or with intent.

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, and as a result, earlier today, Andrew Lawson was taken into custody on a “no bond” warrant by agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for manslaughter with a firearm.

As per the instructions of the warrant, Andrew was transported to the Brevard County jail and the case will progress from there.

Folks, this unnecessary and totally avoidable incident not only took the life of an amazing young man and deputy, but it has also forever 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 of friends who loved serving in our profession.

Austin was passionate about his job and loved his community he so proudly served.

And Andrew is a great kid who, sadly, made a horrible and irresponsible decision that has forever impacted the lives of so many.

This tragedy has broken our hearts and knowing Austin and Andrew as I do, I think they would, at the very least, for there to hopefully be a lesson or a message in here somewhere that just maybe saves someone else’s life.

A message that makes someone else not make the same mistake, a message that helps someone else avoid a similar tragedy, and above all else, a message that somehow/somewhere saves a life!

If there is nothing else, I pray there is a lesson learned from this tragedy.

God bless, and thank you for the overwhelming show of support and prayers for our agency during this most difficult of times.

– Sheriff Wayne Ivey

RELATED STORY:

Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Walsh was accidentally killed in an off-duty incident that occurred within the city limits of Palm Bay early Saturday morning, according to Sheriff Wayne Ivey. “Deputy Austin Walsh was 23 years old and was a treasured member of our BCSO Family,” said Sheriff Ivey. (BCSO image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Walsh was accidentally killed in an off-duty incident that occurred within the city limits of Palm Bay early Saturday morning, according to Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

“The Palm Bay Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are the primary agencies investigating the incident and while further information will be forthcoming, there are limited details that can be released at this time,” said Sheriff Ivey.

“Deputy Austin Walsh was 23 years old and was a treasured member of our BCSO Family. Austin served as a member of our agency since he was 18 and prior to that served for several years as a member of our Explorers program.

“At this time, we ask that you keep Austin, his family, our agency, and our entire community in your thoughts and prayers as we collectively face the most difficult of times,” said Sheriff Ivey.

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