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Atlanta airman killed by Florida deputy, but lawyer says they went into the wrong apartment

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An active-duty airman from Atlanta who was stationed in Florida died last week after he was shot by a sheriff’s deputy who entered his apartment.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, died on May 3 after being shot by an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy in his apartment, according to the family’s attorney.

National civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and Fortson’s family held a news conference on Thursday morning in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

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A woman who was on FaceTime with Fortson at the time of the shooting said he was alone and there was no disturbance, which is what law enforcement cited as the reason for responding to the apartment, according to Crump’s attorney.

She said that Fortson heard a knock at the door and he called out to see who it was, but didn’t get a response. She said there was then a loud, “very aggressive” knock on the door. Fortson looked through the peephole but didn’t see anyone.

That’s when he went to get his gun, which he legally owned. When he walked back into the living room, deputies came through the door, saw the gun and shot him six times, Crump said in a news release.

Fortson was taken to the hospital and later died.


“All of us at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office are saddened about the fatal officer-involved shooting over the weekend,” Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement.

Fortson was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron. He had been on active duty since November 2019.

A spokesperson for Crump’s law firm confirmed that Fortson and his family are from Atlanta. He graduated from McNair High School in DeKalb County.

Sheriff Aden says the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting and the State Attorney’s Office will also review the case.

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