A California business owner was convicted of killing a Stockton fire official responding to a blaze in Aurora and Washington Streets.
Robert Somerville, 68, gunned down Stockton Fire Department Captain Vidal “Max” Fortuna, 47, with a .380 caliber handgun on January 31, 2022. Authorities said Fortuna was one of the responders at the fire scene around 4:45 a.m. and was trying to enter a building to prevent the fire from advancing from the trailer to the structure.
Somerville appeared before San Joaquin County on Tuesday for his hearing. Jurors found Somerville guilty of second-degree murder and intentional discharge of a firearm.
Yahoo News said Somerville was denied bail in August last year due to histories of failing to appear in court for DUI charges. Meanwhile, he is scheduled for a sentence set on April 10.
According to Fox News, Somerville was an engineer before setting up a food truck and was a longtime local business owner. His family described him as “not a violent person.” According to his family statement, Somerville was a victim of attempted break-ins since his business is located in an area with the highest concentration of homeless individuals. Somerville believed he was being burglarized and opened fire when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Meanwhile, the California Fire Foundation remembered Fortuna as a diligent member of their member and has worked for 21 years in the Stockton Fire Department. The community created a fundraising page in his honor.