Mother of Slain Airman Calls for Justice Beyond Deputy’s Firing

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Written By Lori Walker

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A mother, whose son was shot and killed by a Florida sheriff’s deputy, believes that the deputy being fired is not enough to serve justice for her son’s death.

Chantemekki Fortson, along with her lawyer Ben Crump, spoke at a news conference in Atlanta, saying that while the firing of Okaloosa County Deputy Eddie Duran is a positive step, they believe he should also face charges for killing her son, Senior Airman Roger Fortson.

Sheriff Eric Aden fired Duran about a month after the incident, which occurred when Duran responded to a domestic violence call at Fortson’s apartment. The body camera footage shows that Duran shot Fortson, who was holding a handgun pointed down, just two seconds after he opened his door. Fortson, who was Black, was 23 years old, while Duran, who is Hispanic, is 39.

An internal investigation by the sheriff’s office concluded that Fortson did not make any aggressive movements, and therefore, Duran’s use of deadly force was not justified. Duran claimed he saw aggression in Fortson’s eyes and feared for his life, leading him to shoot.

Duran’s personnel records revealed that he had requested to switch to part-time duty due to family issues just days before the shooting. He had returned to the sheriff’s office 11 months prior, having previously worked there from 2019 to 2021.

Fortson, a member of the 4th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, was not involved in any argument or disturbance before the incident. He was playing video games and talking to his girlfriend when the deputy arrived.

When Duran knocked on Fortson’s door, there was no response initially. Fortson, feeling uneasy, told his girlfriend he was going to get his gun. When he opened the door with the gun pointed downward, Duran immediately opened fire, causing Fortson to fall backward.

Chantemekki Fortson believes that Duran should have been fired sooner and that his firing is not justice for her son’s death. She and her attorney are calling for Duran to face criminal charges in addition to being fired.

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