(KTXL) — Tuesday marked one year since Stockton fire captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna was fatally shot while responding to a fire. 

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln and Stockton Firefighters Local 456 took to social media to remember the fallen firefighter. 

“We will never forget you, Captain Max Fortuna,” Lincoln tweeted. 

“On January 31st, 2022, our beloved friend was taken from us,” Stockton Fire tweeted. “There has not been a day that has gone by that we don’t miss you dearly. We love you, Max.” 

On Jan. 31, 2022, firefighters were called to a dumpster fire around 4:45 a.m. in the area of Aurora Street South and Washington Street. When they arrived at the area, firefighters noticed flames were starting to impact a nearby structure. 

According to Fire Chief Rick Edwards, gunshots rang out and firefighters rushed to help Fortuna. 

Fortuna was rushed to San Joaquin General, where city leaders said he died. 

He was 47 years old and left behind a wife and two adult children. 

Fortuna was also a 21-year-old veteran of the fire department.

An online fundraiser was set up for the Fortuna family, which raised $230,686. 

Honoring a fallen firefighter

As Fortuna’s body was transported from the hospital, a long line of fire trucks flashed their emergency lights in honor of the fallen firefighter. Dozens of law enforcement and firefighters from neighboring cities showed their support as well by making their Stockton. 

A second procession was held when Fortuna’s body was being transported from the coroner’s office to the Casa Bonita Funeral Home. 

The San Francisco Giants honored Fortuna during its July 14, 2022 home game against the Milwaukee Brewers during its annual Firefighter Appreciation night.

Becky Fortuna, Max Fortuna’s wife of 25 years, threw the game’s first pitch. According Local 456, Max Fortuna was an avid Giants fan.

What has happened to the suspect? 

Stockton police officers responded soon after the shooting and detained a 67-year-old man, who was later identified by police as Robert Somerville. 

Police said they found a handgun at the scene. 

He was booked into San Joaquin County Jail on homicide and weapons charges. 

On Feb. 2, 2022, Somerville was arranged on murder and weapons charges connected to the death of Fortuna. Somerville is still in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail and is set to appear in court on Wednesday at 9 a.m., according to jail records. 

The family of Somerville said the incident was “not an intentional callous act,” according to a statement. 

According to the family’s statement, the 67-year-old lived and operated a business at a warehouse in the area where he allegedly shot Fortuna.

Words alone will never be enough to express the devastation and sorrow that we feel for Stockton Professional Firefighter Max Fortuna’s wife and two children. I can assure Firefighter Fortuna’s immediate Family, and all who care for Mr. Fortuna that this was not an intentional callous act in the death of Mr. Fortuna.

Robert “Bob” Somerville 67 is not a violent person and is a long-standing business owner (and former engineer) in the Stockton community… for over 30 years. He operates his business, and resides in the warehouse that was adjacent to where the fire occurred at 5:00am this morning.

Having been a victim of constant attempted break-ins, due to his business/home being located in an area plagued with the highest concentration of homeless individuals, Mr. Somerville as recently as 1 week ago reinforced parts of his property to add an additional layer of security. It is our understanding that Mr. Somerville believed his property was being burglarized, which led to this horrific chain of tragic events.

We just ask that the Fortuna Family and public please withhold judgment on the state of mind and intent of Mr. Somerville until all of the facts come to light. 

Family of Robert Somerville