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Home Criminal News An airman was in his apartment and on a FaceTime call when a deputy, who went to the wrong address, burst through the door and shot him six times, according to the airman's lawyer

An airman was in his apartment and on a FaceTime call when a deputy, who went to the wrong address, burst through the door and shot him six times, according to the airman's lawyer


A well-known civil rights attorney representing the relatives of a 23-year-old U.S. senior airman who was killed by a deputy at home claims that officials forcefully entered the incorrect address.

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Roger Fortson, Ben Crump

U.S. Airman Roger Fortson (left) in a U.S. Air Force photo, (right) civil rights lawyer Ben Crump (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

A well-known civil rights attorney who represents the family of a 23-year-old U.S. senior airman killed at home in Fort Walton Beach last Friday alleges that Roger Fortson was alone and on FaceTime when a deputy from Okaloosa County, Florida, entered the wrong address and shot him six times.

Attorney Ben Crump stated several requests for transparency from law enforcement on Wednesday asking for more information about the shooting, pointing to “serious questions that demand immediate answers” as the police reportedly entered the wrong apartment in response to a disturbance call.

Crump’s law firm mentioned that the witness was a woman on a FaceTime call with Fortson “during the entire encounter.”

“Roger was alone in his apartment when he heard a knock at the door. He asked, ‘Who is it?’ but didn’t get a response,” a press release said of the witness’s account. “A few minutes later, there was a very aggressive knock on the door, but Roger didn’t see anyone when he looked out the peephole.”

“Concerned, he did what any other law-abiding citizen would do and retrieved his legally-owned gun, but as he was walking back to the living room, police burst through the door,” the firm continued. “When they saw the gun, they shot Roger six times.”

The witness, Crump’s firm said, recalled hearing a dying Fortson say “I can’t breathe.”

“She has also said the police were in the wrong apartment as there was no disturbance in the apartment and he was alone,” the firm said.

Currently, Ben Crump is asking for the body cam video to be released in order to provide more information about Fortson’s death, as authorities have been unwilling to release recordings as a more comprehensive investigation is underway.

“The explanation given by law enforcement, which wrongly suggests that Roger posed a threat, is deeply worrying and contradicts the details provided by the witness: Roger was home alone, causing no disturbance, when his life was tragically ended by law enforcement,” Crump mentioned.

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden, in a statement on the shooting, described Fortson as “an armed man.” The deputy who fired the shots, and has not been named, is on leave, and the shooting is being investigated, Aden added.

“I immediately placed the deputy on administrative leave and have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct the investigation that is required in such incidents,” the sheriff said. “The State Attorney’s Office will also conduct an independent review. At this time, we kindly ask for our community’s patience as we work to understand the facts that resulted in this tragic event.”

Although the circumstances seem different, as described by Crump, the Fortson shooting bears similarities to another case where Crump represented the family of a Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer who entered the wrong apartment.

Amber Guyger, who was a Dallas police officer, was off-duty and coming home from work. off-duty and returning home from work in September 2018, but Guyger walked up to an apartment door that was not hers. It was 26-year-old Botham Jean’s.

Botham Jean appears in a 2014 portrait released by Harding University, his alma mater.

Botham Jean is shown in a 2014 picture released by Harding University, his alma mater.

The case established that Guyger, still wearing her uniform, parked her car on the wrong floor of her apartment complex, walked up to Jean’s door, ignored telltale signs that the apartment was not hers (such as the floor mat in front of the door that her apartment did not have), pulled her gun, and opened fire wrongly believing Jean, an accountant unwinding at home and eating ice cream, was an intruder.

After the shooting, Guyger was heard on 911 audio saying “I’m f—ed” as Jean lay dying.

“I’m going to lose my job. I thought it was my apartment/ Hey bud. Hey bud. Hey bud. Come on. Oh f—. I thought it was my apartment,” she said.

Amber Guyger

Amber Guyger pictured in 2019 (Law&Crime Network)

Guyger repeated that last line over and over again.

“I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment,” she said. “Oh my god. I, I, How the f— did I put the, how did, how did I … I’m so tired.”

At trial, the defense attempted to explain that Guyger was running on “auto-pilot” and exhausted from working overtime, but a jury of her peers found her guilty of murder in 2019. That conviction was upheld on appeal.

Crump also represented the family of Breonna Taylor after the EMT was shot to death in her Louisville apartment while cops were executing a falsified no-knock warrant. When U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled federal charges against several officers, he said the police affidavit that laid the groundwork for the deadly raid “falsely claimed” that officers had verified that the target of a drug trafficking operation — Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover — had received packages at Taylor’s address.

Breonna Taylor via Benjamin Crump

At the time of the March 2020 shooting, Taylor’s then boyfriend Kenneth Walker opened fire when police knocked the front door off its hinges and entered the apartment, initially leading to attempted murder charges against Walker, even though he legally owned the firearm and said he did not know cops were executing a raid. Charges were dropped as scrutiny of the raid turned national, and Walker eventually settled a lawsuit for $2 million.

Kenneth Walker

Kenneth Walker pictured during a CBS News interview.

It remains to be seen if Florida investigators will find whether the deputy who shot Fortson can credibly raise a self-defense argument, considering that Crump has said Fortson “legally-owned” the firearm he “retrieved” before his death.

Hurlburt Field, the U.S. Air Force base where Fortson was assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron, said in a statement that it would not be releasing additional information “at this time.”

“The 1st Special Operations Wing’s priorities are providing casualty affairs service to the family, supporting the squadron during this tragic time, and ensuring resources are available for all who are impacted,” the statement said.

The flat where Fortson was killed by gun was not on the base but was many miles away.


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