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Modesto Church Honors Stockton Firefighter Fatally Shot While On The Job

MODESTO (CBS13) — Tributes continue to pour out for the Stockton firefighter killed in the line of duty.

Big Valley Grace Community Church shared a photo of Capt. Max Fortuna performing with the praise and worship team.

It released the following statement:

"The people of Big Valley Grace Community Church were devastated to learn that Max Fortuna was senselessly killed while serving the community as a captain with the Stockton Fire Department. Our hearts break for the Fortuna family and the community of first responders that has taken this tragic news with understandable emotion and grief. 

Max was a gentle and humble man who loved God and exhibited many characteristics of Christ. He served faithfully for many years and always brought his joyful attitude and strong work ethic to our ministry. He will be dearly missed. 

While we are mourning this loss and doing our best to bear the burdens of those who are hurting, we find great comfort knowing that Max has been reunited with his Heavenly Father and is experiencing eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Photo of Vidal "Max" Fortuna at Big Valley Grace Community Church (credit: Big Valley Grace Community Church)

Fortuna was killed early Monday morning in Stockton when a 911 call for a fire ended in gunfire. 

Police say 67-year-old Robert Somerville was the shooter. The suspect is now at the San Joaquin County Jail. As he awaits his court appearance, Somerville's son tells CBS13 he believes the shooting was a misunderstanding.

"My dad does not have any prior violent history or anything like that he – he's really a community man as well," said Tre Somerville.

The son believes his father was defending his business and home inside a nearby warehouse close to the scene.

The suspect alleges his property had become a target for break-ins in the past.

CBS13 asked Stockton police to respond to the allegations. The public information officer said the case is under investigation and they're still determining the motive.

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Honor Flag arrived at Fortuna's fire station. It was presented earlier in the day for the funeral service of Elk Grove Ofc. Ty Lenehan.

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