Pentagon Responds to Shooting Death of Black Airman in Florida

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This photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, shows Senior Airman Roger Fortson in a Dec. 24, 2019, photo. (U.S. Air Force via AP, File)
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(AURN News) – The Pentagon is responding to the shooting death of a 23-year-old Black airman who was killed by an Okaloosa County, Florida deputy last week. Roger Fortson was shot and killed by the deputy on May 3rd after authorities responded to a call about a disturbance. Famed attorney Ben Crump held a news conference Thursday condemning Fortson’s death. Attorney Crump says that deputies had the wrong apartment.

“You are free in your home from people using excessive forces and searches and seizures of your home. And Roger had that right. He had that right to the Second Amendment. He had that right to the Fourth Amendment,” Crump said.

“He was protecting us so that we could have that right,” said Chantemekki Fortson, Roger Fortson’s mother, referring to her son’s military service and the rights afforded by the Second and Fourth Amendments that Crump cited.

Chantemekki Fortson, mother of Roger Fortson, a U.S. Air Force senior airman, holds a photo of her son during a news conference regarding his death, with Attorney Ben Crump, right, Thursday, May 9, 2024, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Fortson was shot and killed by police in his apartment on May 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement that a deputy “responded to a call of a disturbance in progress where he encountered an armed man. The deputy shot the man, who later succumbed to his injuries.”

Body camera footage of the shooting was publicly released this week. Crump also released a FaceTime video showing Fortson on a call with his girlfriend at the time he was shot.

At a Pentagon briefing, Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder addressed Fortson’s death, saying “The Secretary is following this closely. And I would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to airman Fortson’s family. We are of course saddened at the loss of one of our own. I know that his death is currently under investigation, so I’ll have to refer you to the Florida civil authorities for any questions about what happened, but we do know that his family is grieving and we offer our sincere condolences.”

The shooting has sparked outrage among civil rights activists. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the tragic incident.


Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Jamie Jackson:

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