Fire Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna was responding to a dumpster fire, in Stockton, California, with his colleagues when he was shot and killed.
The married father-of-two was rushed to the hospital, but pronounced dead.
Fortuna, 47, was working to extinguish the blaze at 4:45 a.m. on Monday, when shots rang out, fatally striking the firefighter.
Robert Somerville, 67, was arrested at the scene and is facing homicide and weapons charges.
He allegedly used a .380 caliber handgun in the shooting, according to the Stockton Police Department.
Stockton Fire Chief Rick Edwards called the shooting his “worst nightmare,” adding, “This is a very, very sad day for this fire department.”
Stockton Police Department spokesperson Joe Silva said on Monday that they were still trying to piece together what led up to the shooting.
“We don’t have a motive,” Silva told Fox News Digital. “We don’t know if they knew each other or not.”
Stockton Professional Firefighters Union President Mario Gardea said Fortuna was a 21-year veteran of the Stockton Fire Department.
“Max was a firefighter who showed up every day and never complained about being on the job. I don’t really know too many other firefighters who enjoy the job as much as him,” he added.
The Stockton Fire and Police Departments escorted Fortuna to the funeral home on Monday led by about a dozen police officers on motorcycles, as per Fox News.
Captain Fortuna is a tragic reminder of the risk our emergency service workers take every day to keep our communities safe. My heart goes out to his family and colleagues. May he rest in peace.