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Florida sheriff’s deputy caught on video fatally shooting a 23-year-old American pilot

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The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office released body camera footage showing the shooting of 23-year-old American pilot, Senior Airman Roger Fortson, by a deputy in May. The video showed the deputy responding to a disturbance call at Fortson’s apartment, speaking to a woman outside who reported hearing an argument, and then knocking on Fortson’s door. The deputy opened fire on Fortson moments after opening the door while holding a gun down, despite the officer’s orders to drop it.

Sheriff Eric Aden stated during a press conference that he was pained to show the video to the public, but felt it was necessary for transparency. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Fortson’s family, accused the deputy of going to the wrong apartment and claimed the shooting was unjustified. The 23-year-old pilot was transported by the Air Force to Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for a dignified transfer, and his family is preparing for his funeral at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia.

Fortson was stationed at Hurlburt Field and served as a gunner aboard an AC-130J, earning a fighter Air Medal. The body camera footage released by the sheriff’s office shows the sequence of events leading up to the shooting, with the deputy calling for emergency medical services after firing his weapon. The video captured the interaction between Fortson and the deputy, during which the pilot denied having the weapon despite being ordered to drop it.

The shooting of Senior Airman Roger Fortson has raised questions about the sheriff’s deputy’s actions and the circumstances surrounding the incident. The release of the body camera footage has sparked criticism from civil rights activists, who claim the shooting was unjustified. The case has also drawn attention to the training and protocols law enforcement officers follow when responding to calls for help.

Fortson’s tragic death has highlighted the need for accountability and transparency in law enforcement agencies, especially in cases involving the use of deadly force. The shooting has devastated Fortson’s family and colleagues at Hurlburt Field, who are mourning the loss of a dedicated pilot. As the investigation into the shooting continues, the community and public are searching for answers and justice for Senior Airman Roger Fortson.