Airman Fatally Shot by Deputy in Florida Apartment: Family Denounces Shooting as “Unjustifiable”

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – Body camera footage released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office shed light on the fatal shooting of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson by a deputy in his apartment on May 3, 2024. The incident, captured on video, has sparked controversy and outcry from Fortson’s family and their legal representation.

The video shows the deputy arriving at the apartment building, engaging in a brief conversation with a woman outside regarding a reported argument in the building. Upon reaching Fortson’s apartment, the deputy banged on the door, demanding to be let in. When Fortson opened the door with a handgun pointed downward, the deputy immediately fired shots, leading to Fortson’s tragic death.

Family members, along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump, disputed the deputy’s actions, claiming that he had not identified himself properly and that Fortson was on the phone with his girlfriend before the shooting occurred. The family denounced the shooting as unjustifiable and called for accountability in the investigation.

The release of the body camera video has raised questions about police procedures and the use of deadly force in such situations. The deputy involved has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine the circumstances surrounding Fortson’s death.

Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney known for his involvement in cases of police brutality, highlighted the tragedy of Fortson’s death, describing him as a dedicated Airman with a promising future. The shooting has drawn parallels to other instances of Black individuals being killed by law enforcement in their homes, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice in these situations.

As the investigation unfolds, Fortson’s family and their legal team continue to seek answers and justice for his untimely passing. The community remains vigilant, calling for transparency and accountability in law enforcement practices to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The release of the body camera footage has ignited a debate on police conduct and racial disparities in law enforcement encounters, prompting a closer examination of the circumstances leading to Fortson’s tragic death. As the investigation progresses, all eyes are on the authorities to ensure a thorough and impartial review of the events that led to Fortson’s fatal encounter with law enforcement.