This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Latest – Wednesday, Feb. 2

2:40 p.m.

Robert Somerville was arraigned on murder and weapons charges connected to the death of Stockton Fire Capt. Vidal “Max” Fortuna. 

His next court date is Feb. 23.


Original story below:

STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The family of a man suspected of shooting and killing a Stockton firefighter said what happened early Monday morning was “not an intentional callous act.”

Fire Chief Rick Edwards said that morning around 4:45, Stockton firefighters were responding to a dumpster blaze when they heard gunshots. Stockton Fire Capt. Vidal “Max” Fortuna had been shot and his fellow firefighters rushed to his aid.

Fortuna, a 21-year veteran with the fire department, later died at San Joaquin General Hospital.

Robert Somerville was detained at the scene of the shooting near Aurora Street South and Washington Street. He was later booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on homicide and weapons charges.

Officers said they also found a .380 caliber handgun at the scene.

The Stockton Police Department shared these photos of Robert Somerville and the gun found at the scene of Monday’s shooting.

According to a statement by Somerville’s family, the 67-year-old lives and operates 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

After Somerville is set to make his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar will hold a press conference to discuss the charges filed against him.

The department has set up an online fundraiser for the Fortuna family.