Body camera released of deputy involved shooting of US airman


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A Florida sheriff’s office released body camera video that showed the fatal shooting by a sheriff’s deputy of a 23-year-old U.S. airman.

Body camera footage released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office showed a sheriff’s deputy responding to Senior Airman Roger Fortson’s apartment on May 3, for a disturbance call. 

The video showed the deputy arriving at a Fort Walton Beach apartment building and speaking to a woman outside who described someone hearing an argument. The deputy then went up an elevator and walked down an outdoor hallway.

In the video, a deputy was seen knocking on Fortson’s apartment and announcing that he was with the sheriff’s office. 

“Sheriff’s office, open the door,” the officer is heard saying. “Step out.”

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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, died Friday, May 3. (Hurlburt Field)

The deputy then opened fire on Fortson just moments after he opened his apartment door while holding a gun pointing down. 

“Drop the gun, drop the gun,” the officer said.

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“I don’t have it,” Fortson said.

Following the shooting, the deputy is heard telling Fortson to not move and then is heard calling on his radio for emergency medical services before the video ends.

An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy

Roger Fortson was shot and killed in his apartment in Florida on May 3. (The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

During a news conference, Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden told reporters it “pained” him to show the video.

“It pains me to show the video, but I know that you all need to see it,” he said.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Fortson’s family, accused the deputy of going to the wrong apartment and said the shooting was unjustified.

Police body camera footage screen grab

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said that on Friday afternoon, “our deputy responded to a call of a disturbance in progress where he encountered an armed man,” and the deputy shot him. (The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

The 23-year-old was transported to Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by the Air Force via dignified transfer at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, Crump said.

His family is preparing for his funeral on Friday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia.

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Fortson was stationed at Hurlburt Field and was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron. 

He was assigned as a gunner aboard an AC-130J, and earned an Air Medal with a combat device, Hurlbert Field announced in a Facebook post



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