Friday, May 31, 2024

Update: Damage Control. Florida deputy who shot airman in his home has been fired for using unreasonable deadly force May 31, 2024 

Florida deputy who shot airman in his home has been fired for using unreasonable deadly force, sheriff’s office says

By Kaila Nichols, Carlos Suarez and Denise Royal, CNN

Fri May 31, 2024

Senior Airman Roger Fortson

CNN — 

The Florida sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a Black man in his home has been fired, the sheriff’s office announced Friday.

The decision followed an internal investigation into the former deputy, Eddie Duran. This is the first time Duran’s identity has been publicly disclosed since the shooting earlier this month. A separate criminal investigation into the deputy’s actions is ongoing with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“The administrative investigation determined the deputy’s use of deadly force was not objectively reasonable and therefore violated agency policy,” a news release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office stated.

Deputies responded May 3 to an apartment after receiving a call for “a disturbance in progress,” Okaloosa Sheriff Eric Aden said in a previous statement.

According to the internal investigation, a woman at the complex told the deputy about a disturbance in apartment 1401 she said was “getting out of hand.”

Body camera footage shows shortly after Roger Fortson opened the door of the apartment, the deputy in the video says “step back” before firing his weapon. Fortson was standing in the doorway with his hands down and a firearm in his right hand.

Five shots can be heard on the footage. Fortson was pronounced dead at a hospital.

In an interview with investigators, Duran claimed Fortson’s arm was “slightly canted, meaning not straight down.” He described it as being “in a manner so that his arm is slightly up.”

But the investigation determined otherwise. According to the statement released with the internal affairs investigation, “the firearm was pointed at the ground sufficiently enough for the former deputy to clearly see the rear face of the rear sight,” and “the investigation concluded that Mr. Fortson did not point the gun in the former deputy’s direction.”

“This tragic incident should have never occurred,” Aden said in a Friday release. “The objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response to Mr. Fortson’s actions. Mr. Fortson did not commit any crime. By all accounts, he was an exceptional airman and individual.”

Duran was hired by the sheriff’s office in July 2019 and resigned in November 2021 to relocate out of state with his spouse, the investigation stated. He joined the sheriff’s office again in June 2023. He was up-to-date with his response to resistance, firearms, active assailant, active shooter and domestic violence training sessions. His most recent firearm training was in September 2023, according to the investigation.

CNN has reached out to Duran’s attorney for comment.

Christina Maxouris, Shawn Nottingham, Melissa Alonso and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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