Documents: Fired Deputy Who Shot and Killed Hurlburt Field Airman Disciplined in 2021, turned in resignation days before shooting.

In Brief:

  • The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office fired Deputy Eddie Duran following an internal investigation that found his use of deadly force against Senior Airman Roger Fortson violated agency policy.
  • The investigation revealed Duran’s actions during the incident were not objectively reasonable, prompting Sheriff Eric Aden to emphasize the need for professionalism and transparency in law enforcement.
  • The incident remains under separate criminal investigation, and the Sheriff’s Office has made all related records and footage publicly accessible while maintaining open communication with Fortson’s family and the U.S. Air Force.

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UPDATE: Fortson Family Attorney Releases Statement on Deputy Firing:

In a statement to the media – Fortson family attorney Ben Crump said, “The firing of the officer who shot and killed Roger Fortson is a step forward, but it is not full justice for Roger and his family. The actions of this deputy were not just negligent, they were criminal. As we’ve stated from the beginning, and as echoed today by Sheriff Aden, Roger was an exceptional airman who did absolutely nothing to warrant being gunned down in his own home.
“While the criminal investigation is still ongoing, we fully anticipate charges to be filed against this officer. The video footage provides damning proof that this was a brutal and senseless killing of a young man who was simply enjoying time alone with his dog while video chatting with his girlfriend.
“Just as we did for Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and Breonna Taylor, we will continue to fight for full justice and accountability for Roger Fortson, as well as every other innocent Black man and woman gunned down by law enforcement in the presumed safety of their own home.”


RELATED: Okaloosa Sheriff Release Call Logs, 9-1-1 Tapes From Airman Shooting Death.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office announced they have fired former deputy Eddie Duran – following an internal affairs investigation into the shooting death of Senior Airman Roger Fortson on May 3.

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

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The administrative internal investigation is separate from the criminal investigation against Duran and “is limited in scope to determine whether former deputy [Duran] violated agency policy.”

The release also noted that Fortson is not a suspect in either investigation.

Duran’s Side of the Story

On May 21, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Captain Robert Wagner interrogated Duran as a part of the administrative investigation into the shooting.

Duran had his attorney, John Whitaker, present with him.

Duran told Wagner that he had gone up the stairs to the apartment alone because he worried that the argument that had been called in over the radio might have escalated into a physical fight. Law enforcement would later confirm Fortson was home by himself. “My thought process was, If I don’t intervene, I didn’t want the event to escalate into something that could be even more of a violent crime,” Duran allegedly told the Captain.

After getting to Fortson’s front door, Duran knocked. The video of the incident shows Duran switching from the left side of the door to the right. He says nothing and only knocks. He also noted to Captain Wagner that he did not hear or see signs of a disturbance related to the situation.

Duran told Captain Wagner during this interview that he heard someone behind the door say the word ‘police,’ but couldn’t make out the rest of the sentence – but later tells the Captain that he heard “Something to the effect of, ‘it’s the fucking police.'”

Fortson opened the door. Duran says he told Fortson immediately to step back. He recounts to Wagner that he looked first at Fortson’s eyes and then at his hands. Wagner asked him what impression he had of Fortson’s disposition when he looked into his eyes. “When I saw his eyes, uh, I saw aggression,” The readout says, “I saw, you know, um, obviously, again interacting with individuals in these types of situations, you are dealing with people who are most likely and during the worst time of their life at that particular moment. Um, so I see aggression, anger, um.”

The Captain asked Duran to explain further. “When I looked at [Fortson], and he made eye contact – or I made eye contact with him, it was a stare that was 100% fixed on me. Um, as I’m looking at him, it wasn’t eyebrows raised, hey, what’s going on, inquisitive, why are you here? It was a stare.”

Duran then says he assessed the gun – and determined it was a Glock brand weapon with an optic attached to it.

Captain Wagner then asked what Duran believed happened next. Duran said that he felt retreat was not an option under the circumstances. “Deputy Duran again explained his limitations presented by his positioning on the breezeway, which, in his mind, made moving impractical,” Captain Wagner’s report explained.

Wagner asked Duran if he considered asking Fortson to drop the gun. “Based on everything that I had considered, I felt 100% that action was gonna be my best course as opposed to reaction.”

Duran shot and hit Fortson six times. Sixteen seconds after shooting Fortson, a call came in from Duran requesting EMS on scene. Wagner asked Duran what he was thinking in the moment. “Right at that point, I’m thinking, I don’t know what else is in the home. I don’t know if there’s any other threats in the home. So I’m standing in that position, and um, I’m trying to process what took place at that time.”

24 seconds after his first call for EMS, Duran called again – asking them to hurry themselves up. “”At that point, Mr. Fortson, he was initially on his right side, I believe,” Duran told Wagner “Um, and then he had rolled onto his back, and when he rolled onto his back, I could see blood beginning to pool on the ground, which told me that there was most likely, um, exit wounds, uh, going through. And so, again, I know when I shot, it was they were around his torso. Um, and so seeing the pool of blood, knowing how many times I shot, I immediately thought, okay, if we don’t give him

medical attention, you know, he’s not gonna make it. And so, I wanted to really convey they need to get here fast because I, I can’t go in the home at this particular moment, uh, to help render aid. Despite whatever was going on, I, I still would like to render aid, and make sure he’s gonna be okay. So, um, I tell them, step it up. You know, they, in my eyes, they need to get here as fast as possible.”

Full Internal Investigations Report

Who is Eddie Duran?

An internal investigation report identified Senior Airman Roger Fortson’s killer as Eddie Duran. Duran started with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in 2019, resigned in November of 2021, and rejoined the agency in June of 2023.

According to his personnel file, Duran was the subject of an internal investigation into his duties as a school resource officer. According to information he self-reported on his application to rejoin the agency, Duran had “failed to complete [his] offender checks in a timely manner and was place[d] under investigation for insubordination. [He] accepted the consequence freely and was suspended without pay for eight days.”

NOTE: An earlier version of this article noted that Duran had resigned after this investigation. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office notified us via email that Duran had “Resigned to move out of state with his wife due to her new job before the offender checks. The implication that he resigned due to that are inaccurate.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Duran was current on his firearms training by Florida statute and held currencies in active assailant training, Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute (FCJEI) Discriminatory Profiling/ Human Diversity/ Professional Traffic Stops Training, Domestic Violence [Intervention] training and active shooter training.

Duran has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology and is working toward a master’s degree in human service counseling with a focus on crisis response and trauma.

Before joining the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Duran served in the United States Army for 11 years, including a combat deployment to Iraq in 2008. The California native started as a member of military intelligence before he cross-trained to military law enforcement. He separated from the military with an honorable discharge as a sergeant (E-5) at Fort Hood, Texas.

Before receiving an honorable discharge, Duran also completed training through the Army’s Special Reaction Team.

After his time in the Army, Duran worked as a police officer and K-9 officer from 2015 to 2019, though he also worked as a fire marshall for the Altus Fire Department at Altus Air Force Base.

Immediately before joining the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Duran worked as a sergeant in the civilian police department at Altus Air Force Base in southwestern Oklahoma.

Before the Shooting

Four days before the shooting and killing of Roger Fortson, Deputy Eddie Duran tendered his resignation.

In an email to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Human Resources, Duran revealed that he would resign and requested part-time employment “due to family hardships.”

Statement from Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden

“This tragic incident should have never occurred,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden. “The objective facts do not support using 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.”

Sheriff Aden continued, “Our mission at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is to ensure fair and equal administration of the law, safeguard civil liberties, and preserve public safety, doing so with professionalism and unity of purpose while being good stewards of the public trust. As your Sheriff, I am committed to this mission and to ensure our deputies adhere to the professional and safety standards that come with the inherent risk of being a first responder who, by the very nature of their calling, must

respond to potentially dangerous situations where they cannot know what they are about to encounter. In this case, the former deputy did not meet the standard of objective reasonableness, and his use of control

to resist was excessive. I want to thank our dedicated team for their around-the-clock effort to ensure a thorough review of the

facts here. Since the tragedy occurred, our office has been fully accountable and transparent in its compliance with statutory requirements, providing numerous public statements, making accessible the available body-worn camera footage and other related records, meeting with Mr. Forston’s family and legal counsel, and communicating openly with the U.S. Air Force and our community-at-large. We

continue to wish Mr. Fortson’s family comfort and peace,” Sheriff Aden concluded.

Hurlburt Airmen, Sheriff Talk at Town Hall

After a town hall that included Hurlburt Leadership and Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden – Air Force Special Operations Command released this statement:

“To foster transparency and address concerns of Air Commandos, Air Force Special Operations Command leadership, along with community leaders, held a town hall today to discuss the recent shooting incident involving an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department deputy resulting in the death of SrA Roger Fortson May 3rd.

The event aimed to provide clarity, share information, and facilitate constructive dialogue.

AFSOC Commander, Lt Gen Tony Bauernfeind, expressed the command’s priorities remain supporting SrA Fortson’s family and honoring his service, supporting the 1 SOW, and supporting all impacted by this incident. He underscored the importance of continued dialogue between Air Commandos and their leadership as well as community leaders.

Air Commandos raised many questions concerning the status and details of the ongoing investigations and feelings of frustration and sadness.

Community leaders, including elected officials and representatives from local advocacy groups, discussed ways to rebuild trust and offered perspectives on how to address the concerns Air Commandos highlighted by this incident.

The town hall concluded with a commitment to ongoing dialogue and collaboration between AFSOC and community leaders. Participants expressed hope that the meeting would mark a step towards healing in the wake of the tragic incident and be one event in the continued journey to remove barriers that prevent Air Commandos from reaching their full potential.”

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