Three employees and a gunman are dead after a standoff at a California veterans home ended on Friday night, HuffPost reports. Gunman Albert Wong was a military veteran in possession of a high-powered rifle, storming the Veterans Home of California-Yountville on Friday morning in the middle of an employee’s farewell party. Shooting at a sheriff’s deputy, Wong then took three hostages into a room, allowing the others at the party to leave before staying inside with the hostages for the rest of the day.
Negotiators failed in trying to speak with 36-year-old Wong while authorities and a SWAT team surrounded the building. When police entered the veterans home at 6 p.m., they discovered the bodies of Wong and his three victims. The fatalities were identified as 42-year-old Jennifer Golick, 29-year-old Jennifer Gonzalez and 48-year-old Christine Loeber.
BREAKING: The Veterans Home of California Yountville is on lock down after reports of an active shooter. Possible hostage situation. Napa Co. Sheriff’s Office asking people to avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/2ZLIW6ssm6
— Mary E. Coleman (@Mary_reports) March 9, 2018
The husband of an eyewitness at the farewell party shared that, out of the 10 to 15 people at the party, Wong allowed everyone but the three women to leave. Those on the scene later heard approximately 30 shots being fired. When the gunfire started, staff locked down the rest of the building, as well as residents’ individual rooms.
Speaking to reporters, California Sen. Bill Dodd revealed that the gunman was involved in the program Pathway Home, which runs on Veterans Home’s property and works with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Dodd, Wong had participated in the program since last year but was asked to leave earlier this week. During his army career, he earned four medals, including an Afghanistan campaign medal with two campaign stars.
The gunman responsible for the killings of three women at a Veterans Home in California was an ex-patient of the Northern California treatment program, authorities and a relative of a victim said. https://t.co/edTqvevIZe pic.twitter.com/DraxeJE6PV
— ABC News (@ABC) March 10, 2018
All of the women taken into hostage reportedly worked with the gunman in the program. ABC News reports that Golick and Gonzalez were both mental health therapists, while Loeber was the director of the Pathway Home program.