A Florida sheriff’s deputy is out of a job after a photo surfaced of him boasting about almost shooting someone to “set [his] head right.”
The Snapchat photo, which was posted June 25, shows Deputy Austen Callus, 23, sitting in a vehicle in plain clothes. The caption read, “Nothing like almost shooting someone to set your head right lol. God I gate people with knives.” It is assumed that “gate” was a typo of the word “hate.” The incident he was referring to was a domestic violence call involving a knife.
On Thursday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired Callus, a patrol deputy, saying that the photo raised doubts about Callus’ mindset when he’s out on the job.
“If you make that kind of a statement … you’re not going to be employed here as a deputy sheriff because it calls into question your thoughts, your motives, and certainly leaves the deputy and the agency in a very bad situation if something were to happen in the future,” Gualtieri said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Too right, because had Callus actually shot someone … well.
Anyway, it turns out that the Good Samaritan who called Callus out was a friend of his who reported the photo, along with several others that were taken while Callus was on-duty in his cruiser as well as off-duty. The woman told the sheriff’s office that Callus’ girlfriend has recently broken up with him and that he’d been drinking heavily.
Around the same time, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysts caught wind of the photo, which was making rounds on social media.
“This is the kind of cop Pinellas County sheriff’s office hires?” wrote one Facebook user who shared the photo. “Someone who wants to shoot someone just to get his head right?”
According to Gualtieri, throughout the investigation, Callus never said anything that eased Gualtieri’s concern over what the photo depicted and said.
“So we can’t have somebody as a deputy who makes that kind of a statement … when he’s going through all this personal turmoil that’s going on,” Gualtieri added.