USAF Service Member Shot Dead by Florida Deputy

A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, was shot and killed by a Florida deputy in an incident at his off-base residence on Friday.

An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy responding to a disturbance in progress “reacted in self defense after he encountered a 23-year old man armed with a gun”, a statement said.

Fortson was taken to the hospital where he died.

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

Meanwhile, according to Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, deputies entered the wrong apartment when they burst into Fortson’s home and then killed him when they saw he was armed.

Crump, citing a woman Fortson was Facetiming with before the unfortunate incident, said Fortson was alone in his apartment when he heard a knock at the door.

He asked who was there but didn’t get a response. A few minutes later, Fortson heard a louder knock but didn’t see anyone when he looked through the peephole.

The woman said Fortson was concerned and went to retrieve his gun, which he legally owned.

As Fortson walked back through his living room, deputies burst through the door, saw that Fortson was armed and shot him six times.

“The circumstances surrounding Roger’s death raise serious questions that demand immediate answers from authorities, especially considering the alarming witness statement that the police entered the wrong apartment,” Crump said in the statement.

“We are calling for transparency in the investigation into Roger’s death and the immediate release of body cam video to the family,” Crump said. “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, where one of his roles as a member of the squadron’s AC-130J Ghostrider aircrew was to load the gunship’s 30mm and 105mm cannons during missions.

Fortson was based at the Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida and the base released the following statement: “U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, died Friday, May 3, following an incident at his off-base residence.

“Fortson was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron. He entered active duty on Nov. 19, 2019.

“Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigation agency in this incident. To protect the integrity of the investigation, no other information will be released at this time.

“The 1st Special Operations Wing’s priorities are providing casualty affairs service to the family, supporting the squadron during this tragic time, and ensuring resources are available for all who are impacted.

“For those impacted by this incident and in need of support, please reach out to your nearest available helping agency.

“Please contact 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs at [email protected] or reach us at (850) 884-7906 for inquiries,”

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