On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that a sheriff's deputy in Brevard County, Florida accidentally shot and killed another deputy, his best friend and roommate, with a gun that he thought wasn't loaded.
"Austin Walsh, 23, was off duty at home in Palm Bay with his friend Andrew Lawson when the fatal shot was fired, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said. After Walsh was hit in the early hours of Saturday, Lawson immediately called 911 to get help for his friend, but Walsh 'succumbed immediately,' Ivey said," reported Dan Ladden-Hall. "In a video shared on Facebook Sunday, Ivey described the circumstances in which Walsh’s tragic death unfolded. '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,' he said."
"In the moments before the shooting took place, Ivey said, Walsh and Lawson had taken a break from playing an online game with a few of their friends," said the report. "The pair were 'just kind of standing around, talking,' Ivey said. 'Lawson was holding a handgun which 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.'"
“Austin and Andrew were the best of friends, and Andrew is completely devastated over what happened,” said Ivey in the statement. “Even with that, there is no excuse for this tragic, and totally avoidable death.”
A standard part of firearm safety training is to assume all guns are loaded with safety disabled or nonfunctional, and to never point a gun at anything or anyone you are not actively prepared to shoot.
One of the most highly-publicized accidental shootings of the year occurred on the set of the Western film "Rust," when actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun he believed to be unloaded, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.