Fired deputy killed Airman Roger Fortson (Florida)

The sheriff from Okaloosa County, Florida removed a deputy from his duty after he shot and tragically killed a young airman under questionable circumstances. The encounter occurred on May 3 as the deputy was responding to a domestic disturbance call. Upon being directed to the apartment of Senior Airman Roger Fortson by the apartment management, the deputy – Eddie Duran – fatally shot the airman within moments of Fortson opening his door. The situation was complicated, and the airman – who appeared to be of a calm, non-hostile, and unarmed demeanor – was found with his arm holding a legal gun pointed horizontally to the ground.

Unfortunately, Fortson, who at 23 years of age, was at the start of an impressive flying career as a special missions aviator serving in an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship, lost his life over what apparently was a misplaced call to action by Duran that led to deadly consequences and an unwarranted show of force.

Internal investigative findings from the Sheriff Eric Aden reveal that Duran’s actions during the ensuing incident do not support reasonableness as according to established procedures for deployment of deadly force due to apparent lack of imminent threat assessment. In turn, Aden terminated Deputy Duran’s employment from the department last Friday.

Notably, outside experts have been in the agreeance that, in no circumstance can an officer resorts to lethal force simply from the presence of a firearm wielded by someone with no hostility displayed towards them on the scene. Furthermore, witnesses and neighbors’ testimonies suggest Fortson had no track record of aggressive conduct.

“This tragic event should’ve never occurred” – is the statement released by the sheriff, Aden, regarding Mr. Fortson, who by everyone’s account appears to be remarkable individual. Consequently, no criminal charges have formally been brought upon Duran, but an extensive investigation handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is ongoing in order to probe the matter more comprehensively from all angles.

The law enforcement veteran Eddie Duran opted not to address the media to discuss the specifics at this time, but investigators maintain that he described experiencing an aura of hostility and immanent danger as a justifying factor for the fateful reaction.

Family attorneys in the representation of Roger Forton maintain that the incident falls short on justice for both him and his household, and insist Duran exercised actions unjust, even potentially unlawfully.

Members from the Okaloosa County NAACP commemorated the Sheriff for his professionalism and swift decisiveness based on the investigations findings into the matter, though adding that other steps should not be disregarded in pursuit of a long-term justice for Forton and his family. The relationship enjoyed between the local organization and the Office of Sheriff seems to favor a collaborative response in an effort to heal wounds and pursue a comprehensive course of action while maintaining a watchful look on the community in order. The sheriff holds a strong allyship and respect earned from the Okaloosa residents, especially under the current volatile climate that still loiters the tensions existing between law enforcement and Black communities from the nation’s heart.

On a related note, the internal affairs investigation unearthed essential details about Duran’s timeline as he served diverse law enforcement entities such as local police departments as well in the military police while serving Army. In spite of facing a premature end after a relatively brief stent with the Okaloosa law enforcement agency, Eddie Duran finds himself on shaky, uncertain grounds during these distressing times, the verdict likely to bring repercussion that may mark the remainder his career in the realm of law enforcing as a repercussion to the fated encounter that cut short that of Forton’s short life.