'I'm so sad and devastated': Girlfriend of US Airman killed by police while on Facetime speaks out

Roger Fortson was on a video call with his girlfriend when he was killed

ByDavi Merchan ABCNews logo
Friday, May 17, 2024
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OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. -- The girlfriend of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Roger Fortson, who was on a video call with him when he was killed by an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputy, is speaking out about the May 3 incident.

The victim was identified by his family as Roger Fortson, an ​active-duty senior airman, according to attorney Ben Crump
The victim was identified by his family as Roger Fortson, an ​active-duty senior airman, according to attorney Ben Crump

Fortson's girlfriend, who asked not to be identified over fears for her safety, spoke exclusively to Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV telling the station the couple was having a conversation about weekend plans when the incident unfolded.

"We started talking about our plans for the weekend because it was the weekend of Cinco De Mayo," Fortson's girlfriend said. "And then we hear a knock at the door."

The woman said her boyfriend went to the door and asked who it was but could not see anyone outside. As the knocks got more aggressive, the woman said Fortson told her, "I'm gonna go grab my gun because I don't know who that is."

When Fortson went to the door, she could hear a commotion over the call.

"What I thought was busting through the door were the gunshots, and that's when I heard him," she said, referring to the Florida deputy. The officer then identified himself and instructed Fortson to put the gun down, to which he said, "OK," the woman told the station.

"[The deputy] tells him, 'Stop moving, stop moving,' but clearly, I don't think he can move," she said. "He starts putting pressure on the gunshot wound, and he calls out the three gunshots to the chest and three to the forearm."

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Fortson's girlfriend said she could hear other people she believed were deputies, looking through Fortson's things in the apartment. At one point, the woman said it appeared that one of the deputies discovered that Fortson was in the military. A deputy then walked past the phone, and she said that was the last she could hear.

"I thought he got arrested, and then I hear this, I hear them talking about gunshots," she said. "I didn't know what to do. There was nothing I could do."

The couple had been dating since October after what she said was love at first sight when they were both attending a birthday party in Atlanta. The pair "bonded instantly," she said, describing their relationship as "very honest, peaceful."

The couple, who had a long-distance relationship, regularly talked on the phone and over video calls, she said.

He was in his home playing video games and talking to me like any other day
Fortson's girlfriend

"He was in his home playing video games and talking to me like any other day, literally any other day. That's our routine," she said. "He gets off work. He's either [lying] down or playing the game and we FaceTime until I go to work. It's the same every day. Every day. He never changed up."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement previously told ABC News that they are investigating the deputy-involved shooting and are unable to provide additional information on the case while the investigation is ongoing. The deputy involved in the shooting -- who has not been named -- has been placed on administrative leave.

"It's been very hard, very difficult, very difficult to navigate life," Fortson's girlfriend said. "Everything that I used to do, I just can't do it anymore. I just don't leave home because I'm so sad and devastated, and I'm scared."