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Firefighter Murdered While Putting Out Dumpster Fire

Stockton, CA – A 21-year Stockton firefighting veteran was fatally shot on Monday morning as he worked to extinguish a fire in a dumpster.

The shooting occurred just after 4:55 a.m. on Jan. 31 as Stockton Fire Department firefighters responded to a call about a dumpster fire in the area of Aurora and Washington Streets, KCRA reported.

Officials said that Stockton Fire Captain Videl “Max” Fortuna was one of several firefighters with Engine #2 who were helping to put out the fire blazing near a structure when gunshots rang out, KOVR reported.

Firefighters transported the wounded hero to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, KCRA reported.

Stockton police responded to the scene of the shooting just after 5 a.m. and arrested a 67-year-old man, FOX News reported.

Stockton Police Assistant Chief Jim Chraska said officers recovered a gun at the scene.

Asst. Chief Chraska said they didn’t believe there were any other suspects involved in the shooting, KCRA reported.

“This highlights the dangers public safety faces every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Fortuna family,” he said.

Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards called Fortuna’s murder his “worst nightmare,” KCRA reported.

Edwards called on the rest of his fire department to be strong.

“My heart breaks with you but we will get through this,” he said.

Fortuna, a 21-year veteran of the fire department, is survived by his wife and two adult children, KCRA reported.

“Today is a good representation of the kind of person Max was. 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.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln called Fortuna “one of our heroes,” KCRA reported.

“This is a sobering reminder of the many sacrifices our firefighters make day in and day out in service to our community,” Lincoln said. “His leadership, his commitment to our city is reflected here by his brothers, his sisters, his community showing relentless support.”

He called on the community to show their support for the fallen firefighter’s family, KCRA reported.

“The pain that we feel as a community does not compare to the pain that the Fortuna family is experiencing right now, so I make a call to all residents in the city of Stockton to not only show love and support for your Stockton firefighters, but also show an extreme amount of love and support for the Fortuna family,” the mayor said.

Officials have not yet released the identity of the gunman, nor have the released any information about a motive for the shooting.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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