The gunman who allegedly took three people hostage at a California veterans home and then fatally shot them was a former patient who had been kicked out of a veterans program in the facility, Fox News reported.
According to Fox, the three women had “dedicated their lives to treating military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress” before their untimely deaths on Friday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that law enforcement first responded to reports of shots being fired at the Yountville facility — the nation’s largest veterans home — at 10:20 a.m.
When a Napa County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene, he exchanged fire with the suspected gunman, later identified as 36-year-old Albert Wong of Sacramento. Chris Childs, assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division, later credited the deputy with “eliminating the ability of the suspect to go out and find other victims.”
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) March 10, 2018
After exchanging gunfire with the deputy, Wong let some of the employees leave, but he kept three hostages and holed himself up in a room in the complex.
Childs said hostage negotiators were brought in and authorities repeatedly tried to reach Wong on his cell phone, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Clinical director Jennifer Golick, 42, did manage to get through to her husband and told him that she had been taken hostage. Executive director Christine Loeber, 48, and Jennifer Gonzales, a 29-year-old clinical psychologist, were also taken hostage.
None of the women were heard from again. At around 6 p.m., when police entered the room where Wong had barricaded himself with the hostages, all three women were dead.
Wong, a veteran who had served in Afghanistan between 2011 and 2012, was found dead of self-inflicted wounds.
Wong had previously been a patient at the Pathway Home, which “is a men’s residential recovery program for veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD or traumatic brain injury,” according to the LA Times.
Wong had been kicked out of the program, although the reasons for his ejection were not immediately clear.
“These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan,” a statement from the Pathway Home said.
“All of us at the Pathway Home are devastated by today’s events. We stand with the families, friends, and colleagues who share in this terrible loss.”
President Trump also offered his condolences to those who had lost loved ones or colleagues in the shooting.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Yountville and mourn the loss of three incredible women who cared for our Veterans,” Trump said in a tweet.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Yountville and mourn the loss of three incredible women who cared for our Veterans.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2018
This is a tragic situation, made all the worse by the fact that those who died dedicated their lives to helping veterans in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and everyone else affected by this tragedy.
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