Atlanta airman death: Attorney Ben Crump describes airman's death at press conference

National civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, along with the family of Senior Airman Roger Fortson, held a press conference Thursday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest to provide updates on Fortson's case. 

Fortson, a 23-year-old active-duty senior airman, was fatally shot by a Florida sheriff’s deputy on May 3. Fortson, who enlisted in the military after graduating from high school with honors, had no criminal record, according to Crump's office. He was recognized as a stellar member of the Air Force and was well-loved by his community.

Crump revealed during the press conference that the deputy who shot Fortson fired his gun at least six times.

"We're not going to let them sweep Roger Fortson under the rug," Crump said. 

Crump says that not only did the deputy go to the wrong apartment, but the deputy used excessive force and Fortson was "executed."

Body camera video released last week shows the deputy knocking on the door three times and identifying himself twice. Crump says Fortson didn’t hear it and eventually he came to the door holding his legally owned gun pointing it down.  

The lawyer also said that the deputy should have known he was at the wrong apartment because he had been told that he was responding to a domestic violence incident between a man and a woman and Fortson was alone with his dog at the time.

Additionally, the woman who reported the alleged incident to police wasn't even sure what apartment the incident took place in when she first began talking to police.

Fortson had his gun in his hand when he answered his apartment door.

The deputy who shot him appears to have done so before telling Fortson to put his gun down, according to Fortson's girlfriend who was on the phone with him at the time of the incident and electronic evidence.

FOX 5 reached out to law enforcement in Florida on Thursday but never got an update. The deputy involved is on administrative leave. 

Family of Senior Airman Roger Fortson demand justice

Family members of Fortson spoke through tears, just a day before his funeral, as they dealt with his loss. 

"They took my uncle from me, and I just want justice for him," said his niece, Londyn Fortson. 

"His family was the most important thing to him, so he took care of us," said his sister, Ravyn Wilburn.  

"He may be my brother, but he was the best brother I could ever ask for," said his little sister, Harmoni Fortson.  

The family and their attorney released new police audio from the day he died between a dispatcher and the deputy about a disturbance call. 

"Don’t have any further other than a male and female," the dispatcher could be heard saying to the deputy. "It’s all fourth party information from the front desk." 

"He had a mama that's a poor black single mom, and I’ll walk through the fire for justice," Meka Fortson said. 

Fortson's mom and family say they will not stop fighting for him as they deal with the grief. 

"Roger was light, there will not be a stain on his name," Meka said. "He will not be put to rest in darkness because he was light." 


The family has announced that a wake for Fortson will be held on Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., followed by his funeral on Friday at 11 a.m.

Pastor Jamal Bryant will deliver the eulogy at the funeral. A livestream will be provided on the church's website and YouTube page.