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Hurlburt Field Commander releases statement on death of Senior Airman Roger Fortson

Following both press conferences yesterday with the Fortson Family and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Hurlburt Field issued a press release addressing the incident and its impact on the military community. […]

Senior Airman Roger Fortson

Following both press conferences yesterday with the Fortson Family and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Hurlburt Field issued a press release addressing the incident and its impact on the military community.

Senior Airman Fortson, 23, from Atlanta, Georgia, entered active duty on November 19, 2019, and arrived at Hurlburt Field in March 2020. During his time at the base, Fortson was assigned to the 73rd Special Operations Squadron and 4th Special Operations Squadron as a special missions aviator.

Fortson’s decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Medal with a ‘C’ Device, indicating service or achievement performed under combat conditions. He was deployed to Southwest Asia in mid-2023, where he earned the Air Medal.

In a statement, U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Dierig, the 1st Special Operations Wing Commander, expressed the wing’s focus on supporting Senior Airman Fortson’s family, providing necessary resources to the squadron and all members impacted, and maintaining professionalism and respect at Hurlburt Field.

Col. Dierig acknowledged the legal process and the family’s right to secure representation while emphasizing the impact of Fortson’s loss on his squadrons and the entire wing.

  • “SrA Fortson was a proven combat veteran and an incredible teammate. His loss is felt throughout the 4th Special Operations Squadron, the 73d Special Operations Squadron, and the entirety of our wing,” he stated.

The wing commander also announced plans to honor Fortson’s service at a date to be determined by his family and squadron.

The statement comes amidst ongoing investigations by the FDLE and the State Attorney’s Office into the circumstances surrounding Fortson’s death.

Earlier, attorneys representing the Fortson family held a press conference demanding transparency and justice, arguing that the deputies entered the wrong apartment and used excessive force.

  • However, Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden disputed these claims, stating that bodycam footage shows the deputy knocking on the correct door and announcing himself twice.

As the investigations continue, Hurlburt Field has emphasized its commitment to supporting those impacted by the incident and has advised individuals in need of support to reach out to their nearest available helping agency.

5 Responses

  1. The wing commander should move every single Airman back on base unless some reassurances can be made that procedurally, this is not repeated. Same old bullshit, cops more interested in their own safety than that of the community… MSgt Jim Fisher, USAF Ret.

  2. Don’t understand why he had to shoot 6 times and the airmen had even right to posses a fire arm I his dwelling….At no point n the videos released did I see where he officer life was threatened…I pray for the family and hope that everyone is held accountable including the people involved trying to put a spin on what happened….Lastly, you can taint this young man past or his history with some criminal bs like the police normally do

  3. As a retired LEO, I will say that after reviewing all the evidence/video that has been released so far, the Deputy was completely unjustified in his actions. That is not how we are trained and that is not the procedure that was dictated by the circumstances. Questions that are obvious! Why did the deputy not wait for backup to a typical disturbance call that apparently was not active upon their arrival? Why did the deputy have his weapon unholstered and pointed at the victim as he opened the door? Why did the deputy not yell drop your gun prior to using deadly force without any indication the situation was escalating? Why did the deputy not step back to the left side of the doorway for cover if he saw the gun and perceived a threat, then yell drop the gun etc. and wait for backup if the situation escalated? If LEO’s are allowed by our judicial system to shoot any person who simply is in possession of a firearm upon their immediate contact with them for any reason, then the system has become ridiculous. I am appalled by law enforcements actions during this incident and personally feel that if this deputy is not criminally charged for his negligence, then all hope is lost for our current judicial system, especially in Okaloosa County.

  4. There is a reason i left usa while wearing this uniform 14 years ago. Minorities are shot daily and “its just a job”. Being blessed by being overseas my whole career im leaving usa. For good and for food reasons. 3 over consec tours, get a fre ride home. I denied each one. “Defered”. Nope as a minority in us soil in the country i protect…. ill never set foot on us soil in my life. Id die before that happens.

  5. The deputy did not have the right to use his firearm to escalate to the deadly force threshold. On any domestic disturbance, we were trained as law enforcement officers to wait for back up, stand to the door and listen for any suspicious activity and any disturbance coming from the residence in question. Also this will add evidence if a true crime is being committed. Once back up arrives the officer should knock on the door and announce himself. In this case, Airman Roger should have been given the command to drop your weapon, drop your weapon with a firm voice. If the person does not comply the deputy should have been trained to escalate his use of force to gain control of the situation. Amn Roger did not have the chance. Amn Roger weapon was down to his side and NOT being held in an aggressive manner. He was killed without any due cause. I pray for justice to be served to honor this Patriot for his sacrifices he made for our country. Ann Roger family will be remembered in my prayers.

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