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Okaloosa Sheriff addresses fatal shooting of U.S. Airman, releases bodycam footage

In a press conference held on Thursday afternoon, Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden addressed the fatal shooting of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson by a sheriff’s deputy on […]

In a press conference held on Thursday afternoon, Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden addressed the fatal shooting of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson by a sheriff’s deputy on May 3.

  • Aden extended his condolences to the Fortson family and assured the community that a thorough investigation is underway to determine the facts of the case.

Earlier in the day, attorneys representing the Fortson family held a press conference demanding transparency and justice in the investigation of the incident. They argued that the deputies entered the wrong apartment and used excessive force, resulting in the death of Fortson, who they described as a humble, intelligent, and law-abiding citizen with no criminal record.

However, Sheriff Aden disputed some of the claims made by the attorneys, stating that their statements about the deputy entering the wrong apartment and bursting through the door were inaccurate.

  • Aden emphasized that the bodycam footage, which was released during the press conference, shows the deputy knocking on the correct door and announcing himself twice.

According to Aden, Fortson’s comments on the footage indicate that he acknowledged the presence of law enforcement at the door and arrived with a firearm in his hand. The sheriff also clarified that the deputy did not cover the peephole or obscure its view in any way.

Aden stressed that while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is conducting a criminal investigation into the incident, no determination has been made yet as to whether the deputy’s actions were justified.

  • He assured the public that the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is committed to transparency and accountability and that they are not attempting to hide or cover up any facts.

During the press conference, Sheriff Aden also mentioned that he had personally met with Meka Fortson, Roger Fortson’s mother, and extended his deepest condolences to the family. He acknowledged the tragic nature of the event and its impact on both the Fortson family and the deputy involved.

  • Meka Fortson, in her earlier press conference, had described her son as a “gift” and her “everything,” emphasizing his kind, humble, and intelligent character.

Sheriff Aden concluded by giving his word to the Fortson family that if the shooting is found to be unjustified, their son’s name will be fully vindicated, and justice will be served.

The investigation by the FDLE and the State Attorney’s Office is ongoing, and further details are expected to emerge as the case progresses.

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One Response

  1. Every police defending citizen will point out that the Airman should not have come to the door with a gun in hand… and I would agree with this statement, however, the gun was pointed down and not at the officer, giving the officer a chance to tell the Airman to put the gun down before deciding to shoot rather than the other way around… what sense does it make to tell a person to put the gun down after being shot?!
    This was poor judgment on both parties, but particularly poor judgment (fueled by fear) on the part of the deputy. This was a free death and an unnecessary course of action

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