A veteran California firefighter was fatally shot by a man while he was on duty battling a dumpster blaze on Monday morning, authorities said. Captain Max Fortuna, 47, was brought to a local hospital in Stockton, between San Francisco and Sacramento, where he succumbed from his injuries at around 11am.
The alleged killed has reportedly been arrested. He is survived by his wife and two grown children. Fortuna was a member of the Stockton Fire Department for 22 years. To honor the victim, retired and active firefighters gathered at the Fire Department's central station on Monday evening.
Stockton Fire Department Chief Rick Edwards said that Fortuna and other firefighters responded to a dumpster fire outside a building at about 4:45 am on Monday. Suddenly, he was shot by a man. According to the fire chief, other firefighters on the scene immediately rushed to provide Fortuna with help.
They then transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. "Firefighters quickly transitioned to provide EMS care for their fallen brother and transported him to the local hospital," Edwards said, adding that he was devastated over Fortuna's death.
"This is my worst nightmare as the fire chief," Edwards said. "This is a very, very sad day as a fire department."
Stockton interim Police Chief Jim Chraska said officers responded and detained a 67-year-old male. Chraska did not name the man and said the inquiry is still ongoing. He stated a gun was found at the scene.
Serving Till His Last Breath
According to reports, the name of the alleged shooter is Robert Somerville, who is in custody and is being questioned. According to the DailyMail.com, the Stockton Police Department said that a motive was not immediately apparent.
It is also not known if the victim and the alleged shooter knew each other was it just a random incident of shooting.
"Max was a firefighter who showed up every day and never complained about being on the job," Stockton Professional Firefighters union President Mario Gardea said. 'I don't know too many other firefighters that enjoyed the job as much as him.'
Fortuna was a member of the Stockton Fire Department for 22 years. To honor the victim, retired and active firefighters gathered at the Fire Department's central station. Officials stated the shooting is still being investigated. It's unclear whether Fortuna was shot at random or on purpose. The suspect's gun was discovered at the scene of the shooting.
Stockton is about 50 miles south of Sacramento, in California's Central Valley. It has a population of about 320,000, according to the US Census Bureau.