STOCKTON, California — A veteran California firefighter was shot dead Monday as he and others responded to reports of a landfill fire, officials said.
Stockton Fire Department Captain Vidal “Max” FortunaA firefighter for more than two decades, was shot before dawn in Stockton and died in hospital, Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards told reporters.
“This is my worst nightmare as a fire chief,” Edwards said. “My message to my firefighters is stay strong, my heart breaks for you, but we will get through this.”
Fortuna, 47, is survived by a wife and two grown children.
Police Chief Jim Chraska said a 67-year-old man was taken into custody at the scene and officers recovered a firearm. Homicide detectives are trying to determine what led to the shooting, he said.
“This highlights the dangers that public safety faces every day, and once again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Fortuna family,” said Interim Police Chief Stockton Jim Chriska said.
As news broke about the morning shooting, Edwards, City Manager Harry Black, Mayor Kevin Lincoln and Coalition 456 Fire Force President Mario Gardea led a hastily called news conference to Talk about the fallen city servant.
“Today is a good representation of who Max is,” said Gardea. “Max is a firefighter who shows up every day and never complains about his job. Didn’t really know there were too many firefighters who loved their job as much as he did. ”
‘Worst Nightmare’:California firefighter dies after being shot while working on fire
even though Stockton Fire Brigade died fighting the fireOfficials say this may be the first time a person has been shot while on duty.
“This is something I’ve never heard of here in Stockton, a firefighter was shot dead,” said Officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for Stockton police. “Everybody loves Max. He comes to work every day and is respected by everyone. “
Lincoln said, Fortuna was a hero.
“His leadership, his commitment to our city is reflected here by his brothers and sisters, his community showing unwavering support. This is one difficult seasons and times for the city of Stockton and our Stockton firefighters, but the pain we feel as a community does not compare to the pain the Fortuna family is going through. now”.
Dozens of police and fire protection vehicles accompanied Fortuna’s body from the hospital to the funeral home. The flag at Stockton Town Hall was lowered half a foot in honor of Fortuna.
Contribution: Associated Press
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