STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Firefighters from surrounding cities are gathering at Stockton Central Fire Station after a fire captain was shot and killed Monday.
According to Fire Chief Rick Edwards, firefighters were called to a dumpster fire around 4:45 a.m. in the area of Aurora Street South and Washington Street. When they got to the area, they noticed the flames were starting to impact a nearby structure.
Chief Edwards said at one point gunshots rang out and firefighters rushed to help 47-year-old Capt. Vidal “Max” Fortuna.
Fortuna was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries.
“It’s unheard of, a firefighter being shot and killed. In all my years, that’s never happened,” said Stockton police spokesperson Joe Silva.
“That’s, you know, that’s crazy in this town. They need to stop the killings here. You know, there’s a lot of killings going on in Stockton. The police, the fire department, they help us out,” said Stockton resident Souzan Harris.
Within hours, dozens of first responders showed up to mourn their fallen colleague. Firetrucks lined the streets for a solemn procession and departments across the region stepped up to provide mutual aid for the Stockton Fire Department.
“They just came. They offered, they showed up, they got the call and they said we’re coming. And it’s been an incredible response,” said Connie Cochran, with the city of Stockton.
Local first responders and community members have banded together while mourning one of their own.
The city of Stockton wants residents to know they may see Modesto or other city’s fire trucks responding to calls.
A fund has been created for Fortuna’s family. Click or tap here to donate.