Today, San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas announced a jury found defendant Robert Somerville, 68, guilty of murder in the shooting death of Stockton Fire Department Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna.
“Stockton Fire Department Captain Fortuna’s death was an unfathomable tragedy. He was murdered because the defendant made the choice to shoot without cause, legal justification, or concern for human life,” said San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas. “I would like to thank the jury for their dutiful deliberation and Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau for seeking justice for Captain Fortuna and our community.”
At approximately 4:45AM on January 31, 2022, Stockton Fire Department Dispatch was notified via 911 call of a fire in the vicinity of Aurora and Washington Streets. Engine 2 was dispatched to the scene and located the fire at 142 Aurora Street. Engine 2 firefighters attempted to enter the building in order to prevent the fire from advancing from the trailer to the structure. Tragically, Captain Fortuna was shot in the line of duty and succumbed to his injuries.
The defendant returns before the Honorable Judge Charlotte J. Orcutt in Department 8D of the San Joaquin County Superior Court on April 10, 2023 at 10AM for sentencing.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office would like to offer our appreciation to Stockton Police Department, Detective Castro, Victim-Witness Advocate Liliana Del Castillo, Paralegals Michelle Vargas and Lisa Madrigal for their investigative efforts and dedication to the successful prosecution of the defendant. The Office also extends our sincerest condolences to Captain Fortuna’s family, friends, and fellow firefighters at Stockton Fire Department.
Stockton Fire Captain Shot and Dies While Responding to Call
Jan 31, 2022
In Stockton, a firefighter was shot and killed Monday while working a fire call. Firefighters were responding to a dumpster fire when gunshots were heard and Stockton Fire Department Fire Captain Max Fortuna was struck.
A 67-year-old man was detained at the scene and a firearm was located. Stockton police does not believe there are any other suspects.
Today, January 31, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. a press conference was held to share information about the loss of Captain Max Fortuna. Stockton Fire Chief Richard Edwards shared the following statement:
“This morning at approximately 4:45 a.m. the Stockton Fire Department’s Emergency Communications Division received a 911 call for a dumpster fire in the area of Washington and Aurora Streets. Engine 2 arrived on the scene a short time later and found a dumpster fire impinging on a structure. As firefighters were extinguishing the fire, gunshots were heard, and the Fire Captain of Engine 2 had been struck. Firefighters quickly transitioned to providing EMS care and transported him to the hospital.
I’m 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.”
Note: SPD News: Escort for Stockton Fire Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna
- East on Mathews Road to Interstate 5
- North on Interstate 5 to the Crosstown Freeway
- East on Crosstown Freeway to El Dorado Street
- North on El Dorado Street to Harding Way
- East on Harding Way to Cemetery Lane
North on Cemetery Lane to Casa Bonita Funeral Home.
Information released by Stockton Police