realtybizideas banner

Tragic Shooting: Florida Deputies Enter Wrong Apartment, & Shoot U.S. Airman

Shoot U.S. Airman

In a heartbreaking incident on May 3rd, at a Fort Walton Beach apartment complex in Florida, Senior Airman Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old Black U.S. Air Force airman stationed at the Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, lost his life. Responding to a disturbance call, deputies burst into what they believed was the right unit, only to find they had entered the wrong one.

According to statements made by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Fortson’s family, Fortson was home alone during the encounter. He was on a Facetime call with a woman when he heard knocking at his door. Despite his inquiries, there was no response. Moments later, the knocking intensified, prompting Fortson to arm himself, legally, out of concern. As he returned to his living room, deputies forcefully entered, encountering him with a gun. Tragically, Fortson was shot six times, uttering “I can’t breathe” after being hit. He succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The woman Fortson was talking to during the incident attested that he wasn’t causing any disturbance. She strongly believes that the deputies had entered the wrong apartment, raising serious questions about the circumstances leading to Fortson’s death. Attorney Ben Crump, renowned for his involvement in cases concerning law enforcement shootings of Black individuals, demands transparency and the immediate release of body camera footage to provide clarity to Fortson’s family and the public.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office expressed sadness over the incident and urged patience as they investigate. They initially claimed the deputy reacted in self-defense to an armed man but provided no details about the disturbance or the caller.

The involvement of law enforcement officers in shootings where they mistakenly enter homes or respond with excessive force has drawn comparisons to similar tragedies involving Black victims. Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson were fatally shot by police officers who entered their homes under mistaken circumstances, highlighting a systemic issue of racial bias and accountability. Ben Crump, who has represented families in cases like these, continues his crusade for justice and accountability in law enforcement actions against Black individuals, aiming to elevate the value of Black lives in the eyes of the justice system and society at large.

The tragic incident serves as yet another reminder of the urgent need for reforms to address racial disparities and ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of race or background. As investigations proceed, the community awaits answers, hoping for accountability and systemic changes to prevent such tragedies from recurring.