Firefighters from across the state gathered in Stockton Tuesday morning to pay tribute to one of their own killed in the line of duty.
Bagpipes accompanied the arrival of Max Fortuna’s casket carried by his fellow firefighters onto the grassy infield of the Stockton Ballpark. Thousands attended his memorial and people lined the streets for his procession.
The 47-year-old Fortuna served the Stockton Fire Department for over two decades. He was shot to death as he responded to a dumpster fire in downtown Stockton last Monday.
Lodi Fire Chief Ken Johnson delivered the eulogy for his longtime friend.
“Let us also realize his story is incomplete,” Johnson said. “His life was cut short and he was stolen from us. How lucky we are for knowing him is what makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Firefighters from 175 agencies were in attendance at the Stockton Ballpark with some coming as far away as Minnesota.
And there was also Fortuna’s family. He leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
His daughter Samantha Velasquez spoke lovingly about her father.
“Our dad was the best,” she said. “People will say your dad was a great man and oh your day was a good guy. I always correct them and say, “No, no, no he was the best.” He was the best father, the best husband, and the best man to play or work alongside.”
A seemingly endless line of fire trucks carried Captain Fortuna in a long procession through the city to his final resting place.
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