President Donald Trump responded Saturday morning after the hostage situation at a California military veterans home ended in tragedy.
On Friday evening, law enforcement stormed the room where the gunman had been holding three people hostage for hours, only to find that the gunman and his hostages were all dead.
The three victims were identified as 48-year-old Christine Loeber, 42-year-old Dr. Jennifer Golick and 29-year-old Dr. Jennifer Gonzales — all of whom worked at the facility, according to CNN.
On Twitter, Trump expressed his sadness at the loss of the “three incredible women” who served America’s veterans.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Yountville and mourn the loss of three incredible women who cared for our Veterans,” the president wrote.
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
The incident occurred at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. As The Western Journal reported, it is considered to be the largest veterans home in the country, with 1,000 veterans from many different wars living there.
“This is a tragic piece of news, one that we were really hoping we wouldn’t have to come before the public to give,” Chris Childs, assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division, said at a news conference.
The suspected gunman, 36-year-old Albert Wong, was a former client of the Pathway Home, a program that treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have post-traumatic stress disorder, NBC News reported.
He was a decorated Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.
But days before the shooting, Wong had been asked to leave the program, state Sen. Bill Dodd told the San Francisco Chronicle.
It was not immediately clear whether the victims were chosen at random, but all of them had worked at the Pathway Home, with Loeber serving as executive director, Golick as a staff psychologist and Gonzales as a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
“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,” the Pathway Home said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued.
The hostage situation started on Friday morning when the suspected gunman barged into a going-away party that was being held for some Pathway Home employees.
“They were having cake and toasting, apparently he just walked in with this rifle,” said Larry Kamer, whose wife works at the facility. She and others were able to escape.
The gunman took hostages, thus beginning an hours-long standoff with authorities. At one point, gunfire was exchanged between him and police.
It was not known when the hostages, who appeared to have been shot to death, actually died.
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