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Body-worn camera footage of a Florida sheriff’s deputy shooting and killing Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old senior airman, inside Fortson’s home earlier this month shows the deputy opening fire immediately after Fortson answered the door with a downturned gun. Policing experts say that Fortson simply holding a gun wasn’t enough reason for deadly use of force; Fortson’s supporters have called the shooting blatantly unjustified.

Fortson was a doting brother who had always dreamed of joining the Air Force, his mother said, and had been awarded an Air Medal for conspicuous valor on a mission and completing 20 flights in a combat zone. [Associated Press/NBC/NPR/Associated Press]


Matthew Rodgers Jr. was 24 when he was shot and killed in Chicago, but, eight years after his death, the people who loved him have a way of keeping him near: They’ve turned to life-size cardboard cutouts, using Rodgers’s likeness to continue making memories with the man they lost. Celeste Campbell, his mother, has five displays; she regularly brings them out to feel his company.

Families across Chicago have embraced cutouts, a tradition that’s become more widespread as the threat of gun violence has grown for the city’s children and young adults. A few mothers hug them every day, though most interact with them at events — memorial services, gatherings, holidays. Ahead of Mother’s Day, The Trace’s Rita Oceguera spent time with five mothers and spoke to them about how these physical objects of remembrance help them continuously reaffirm their love for their children.

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What to Know Today

A federal appeals court upheld a California law that allows select researchers to obtain records of gun and ammunition purchases in the state, including information about gun owners. The court said the “biographical data” made available to researchers is essentially the same that purchasers share with dealers, and noted that the law has strict privacy and confidentiality requirements. [San Francisco Chronicle/Courthouse News

Honolulu has agreed to respond to concealed carry permit applications within four months of submission in response to a lawsuit alleging that the city was using long delays to keep the permitting process as restrictive as it was before the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision. A similar lawsuit is underway in Los Angeles. [Associated Press

The race for sheriff in Sagadahoc County, Maine, is usually a staid affair. But since the county became home to the state’s deadliest mass shooting last October, and its sheriff’s department denounced for failing to prevent the massacre, the election has become deeply emotional and divisive. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates were working in the Sheriff’s Department before the shooting, and one was criticized by name in a state investigation into the massacre. [The Boston Globe

ICYMI, via The Trace’s Weekly Briefing newsletter:

Tom Nguyen, a firearms instructor in Los Angeles, rejects stereotypical American gun culture — a nationalistic, conservative, and largely white space — and the idea that owning a gun has to define your personality. Under the banner “L.A. Progressive Shooters,” Nguyen teaches basic pistol courses to those excluded from mainstream gun culture, and rookie shooters who are wary of owning a gun at all. [Los Angeles Times

In 2020, the Oakland, California, school district disbanded its school police department, and the city invested millions in school-based violence prevention and intervention. This week, city officials heard long-awaited reports on how those efforts are going — and while Oakland schools still experience shootings and other forms of violence, the officials were left optimistic about the preliminary data. [The Oaklandside]

Data Point

375 — the number of people police in the U.S. have shot and killed so far this year, as of May 3. [The Washington Post]