Accused killer’s son says firefighter Max Fortuna’s shooting death was ‘freak circumstance’

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Accused killer's son says firefighter Max Fortuna's shooting death was 'freak circumstance'

The son of a California business owner charged in the shooting death of a local firefighter said the deadly incident early Monday must have been “just a freak circumstance.”

Tre Somerville, whose father, 67-year-old Robert Somerville, was arrested for murder for allegedly shooting Stockton Fire Capt. Vidal “Max” Fortuna, called it an “unfortunate” misunderstanding, KOVR-TV reported.

“I would like to say that, you know, my family would like to send our condolences to the Fortuna family,” Tre Somerville told the station. “It’s very unfortunate what happened today, and it’s just a freak circumstance.

“My father does not have any prior violent history or anything like that,” he said. “He’s really a community man as well.”

In a statement, the Somerville family said Robert Somerville had been the victim of “constant” break-ins and believed he was being robbed again.

Robert Somerville
Robert Somerville was arrested in connection to the shooting death of firefighter Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna. His son Tre Somerville called it a “freak circumstance.”
Stockton Police Department
Tre Somerville
Robert Somerville’s son Tre Somerville says his father had no violent history and called the shooting “unfortunate.” In a statement, the Somerville family said Robert Somerville was the victim of multiple break-in attempts.
CBS13 Sacramento

“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,” the statement said.

“It is our understanding that Mr. Somerville believed his property was being burglarized, which led to this horrific chain of tragic events,” the family said. “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.”

Fortuna was with other firefighters responding to a dumpster fire in Stockton around 4:45 a.m. Monday when he was shot and killed, according to police.

Fortuna, a married father of two, had been with the department for 21 years.

Max Fortuna
Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna was responding to a dumpster fire in Stockton when he was shot and killed.
Stockton Police Department via AP
Firefighters comfort each other as they gather at Fire Station 2 in downtown Stockton after the death of Fire Capt. Max Fortuna.
Firefighters comfort each other as they gather at Fire Station 2 in downtown Stockton after the death of Fire Capt. Max Fortuna.
Clifford Oto/The Stockton Record/USA TODAY NETWORK
A Stockton fire vehicle is parked at the scene where Fire Capt. Max Fortuna was shot while fighting a fire.
A Stockton fire vehicle is parked at the scene where Fire Capt. Max Fortuna was shot while fighting a fire.
Clifford Oto/The Stockton Record/USA TODAY NETWORK

Robert Somerville, who owns a food truck business, was arrested at the scene and is now jailed at the San Joaquin County Jail and is due in court Wednesday, KOVR said.

Police said he had a .38-caliber revolver when he was taken into custody.

“The firefighters, they are part of our public safety family,” Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva told the station. “ANd this hits all of us hard, and this just shows the dangers of the job.”

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