A Tulsa man arrested in connection with the shooting of a 15-year-old boy during a 2018 road-rage incident pleaded guilty Monday in federal court.
Joshua Duane Fort, 41, admitted to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm in Indian Country, filed June 7 in Tulsa federal court.
Fort was arrested June 23, 2018, on a shooting with intent to kill charge filed in state court following an altercation with the driver of another vehicle and its 15-year-old passenger.
“Joshua Fort pulled a gun on a teenager during a traffic dispute,” Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a press release. “He shot the young man then tried to blame the shooting on the victim.
“I am thankful the victim survived the incident and that he has since recovered from his injuries. There are legal consequences to road rage especially when that rage turns violent.”
Fort stated in a plea agreement that he intentionally shot the teenager with a handgun during a fight Fort initiated, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The victim was shot in the arm and required surgery.
Fort initially told police he pulled his vehicle into a liquor store parking lot near 31st Street and Mingo Road when two individuals in another car began yelling at him.
He said the passenger had a gun that somehow discharged when the two were fighting.
But witnesses, whose statements were backed by a surveillance video, told police Fort choked the youth with both hands while the two were arguing.
The youth then hit Fort, knocking him to the ground, according to witnesses. Fort then pulled out his revolver and fired multiple shots, according to witnesses.
One of the bullets hit the youth in the arm.
The injured youth said Fort pulled over after the driver of the youth’s vehicle honked his horn at Fort. Fort initially pulled over but then followed their vehicle to a commercial parking lot where the verbal argument escalated to a shooting, according to a criminal complaint seeking Fort’s arrest.
Fort was convicted at a 2019 Tulsa County District Court trial, but that conviction was overturned for jurisdictional reasons following a July 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision that resulted in the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations seeing their 1860s-era reservation boundaries reaffirmed because Congress had never formally disestablished them. That meant crimes involving Native Americans within those areas — most of eastern Oklahoma — could not be prosecuted in state courts.
Fort is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and the shooting occurred within the Muscogee Nation’s reservation boundaries.
Because federal jurisdiction applies in such cases, a federal grand jury in May named Fort in a two-count indictment alleging assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm in Indian Country and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.