Stockton, CA – A firefighter has been shot and killed while battling a fire after a gunman emerged from the shadows and indiscriminately started shooting at firefighters who had responded to a bin fire.
Stockton Fire Department responded to calls about the fire near Aurora and Washington Street on 31st January just before 05:00 hours local time.
As firefighters fought the blaze, a 67-year-old man emerged and fired on the group.
One of the firefighters, Captain Max Fortuna, was struck by the gunfire.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injures. Captain Fortuna – a 21-year fire service veteran – leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
Officers from the Stockton Police Department responded to the scene and took the alleged shooter into custody. A gun was also recovered from the scene.
Police are yet to establish a motive behind the cowardly attack.
Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards said:
“I am devastated to report that Veteran Fire Captain Max Fortuna has succumbed to his injuries.
“Captain Fortuna served the City of Stockton for 21 years and leaves behind a wife and two grown children.
“I ask you to keep Captain Fortuna’s family and the Stockton Fire Department family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Mario Gardea, the president of the Stockton Professional Firefighters Union said:
“Max was a firefighter who showed up every day and never complained about being on the job.
“I don’t really know too many other firefighters who enjoy the job as much as him.”
Stockton Fire Tweeted:
‘Stockton Firefighters are heartbroken.
‘Our friend and brother Captain Max Fortuna was tragically taken from us.
‘We love you Max.
‘We just started our Fund The First, all proceeds will go to the Fortuna Family.’