Black Air Force Airman Killed By Florida Deputies Who Were At The Wrong Apartment, Attorney says

Deputies responding to a disturbance call at a Florida apartment complex allegedly entered the wrong unit and fatally shot a Black U.S. Air Force airman. 

Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, was stationed at the Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. He was alone in his off-base apartment when the incident occurred.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing Fortson’s family. According to Crump, Fortson was on a Facetime call with an unidentified woman who witnessed the fatal shooting. According to the witness, Fortson heard a knock at the door, and when he asked who was there, he did not get a response. The witness told Crump that Fortson grew concerned when the knocks became more aggressive, and he could not see anyone through the peephole. He then retrieved his legally owned gun. As he was walking back into the living room, officers burst through the door and shot the soldier six times. According to Crump, the witness saw Fortson lying on the ground where he said, “I can’t breathe.” Fortson was then taken to a hospital, where he died. 

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. 

“I immediately placed the deputy on administrative leave and have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct the investigation that is required in such incidents. The State Attorney’s Office will also conduct an independent review.” Okaloosa Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement. 

Crump is requesting that the police release the body cam footage of the incident.

“We are calling for transparency in the investigation into Roger’s death and the immediate release of body cam video to the family,” Crump told ABC News. “His family and the public deserve to know what occurred in the moments leading up to this tragedy.”

Fortson was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron as a special missions aviator. He had no prior criminal history.

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