The IAFF is saddened to report Stockton, CA Local 456 member Vidal “Max” Fortuna, 47, was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a call on January 31.
“The death of Brother Fortuna is a tragic loss for our IAFF family. And, like families do, we will get through this together,” says General President Edward Kelly. “The IAFF and our resources will be available to our brothers and sisters in Stockton for as long as they need them.”
IAFF 10th District Vice President Stephen Gilman is on the ground in Stockton facilitating assistance.
“This has been a devastating reminder of just how dangerous our job has become,” says Gilman. “Our focus right now is ensuring the Fortuna family and the members of Stockton Local 456 have the support they need during this difficult time.”
Fortuna and members of the Engine 2 crew were called to respond to a dumpster fire threatening a nearby commercial structure. As the crew worked to put out the fire, they heard shots fired; Fortuna was seriously wounded. His fellow Local 456 members administered medical assistance until the ambulance arrived. However, Fortuna later succumbed to his injuries.
“Our members never know what the next call may bring, but just like Brother Fortuna did, our members always turn to the danger to help their community,” says General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma. “His service and his sacrifice will be honored and remembered not just in Stockton and Local 456 but throughout the IAFF.”
“Max was a fire fighter who showed up every day and never complained about being on the job. I don’t really know too many other fire fighters who enjoyed the job as much as he did,” says Local 456 President Mario Gardea. “Max was one of our best and he’s going to be missed.”
While the incident is under investigation, the suspect is a 67-year-old business owner.
Fortuna was a 21-year veteran fire fighter who leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at Banner Island Ball Park, 404 W. Fremont Street in Stockton. In lieu of flowers, Local 456 has established a fundraiser for the family of Brother Fortuna.