The Latest: Veterans home victims called 'brave women'
Mar. 10, 2018
YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on an armed man at a veterans home in Northern California (all times local):
Two of the mental health workers killed by a former U.S. soldier at a California veterans home were psychologists who treated veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome and the third victim was the program's the executive director.
The Pathway Home program at the country's largest veterans home in Yountville said in a statement Friday that 42-year-old Jennifer Golick and 29-year-old Jennifer Gonzales were accomplished mental health therapists. The program said director 48-year-old Christine Loeber was also killed Friday.
The statement called them brave women who "were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation's veterans."
It also said they worked "closely with those in greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Department of Defense records show the gunman found dead with the three mental health workers he killed at California veterans home had a decorated U.S. Army career.
The records obtained Friday said 36-year-old Albert Wong was awarded four medals, including an Afghanistan campaign medal with two campaign stars.
Records showed Wong served as in the infantry during three years of active service in the U.S. Army ending August 2013.
He was also awarded an Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle.
Wong served one year in Afghanistan.
Authorities say the gunman who killed three mental health workers at a California veterans home was a 36-year-old former soldier and patient of the workers.
The Napa County Sheriff's Department said Friday that Albert Wong was found dead at the Yountville veterans facility along with the three victims, identified as 42-year-old Jennifer Golick, 48-year-old Christine Loeber and 29-year-old Jennifer Gonzales. Golick and Gonzales were counselors and Loeber was the director of the program.
Department of Defense officials said Wong was a decorated U.S. soldier who served on active duty from May 2010 to August 2013. He spent a year in Afghanistan.
A family member of a psychologist among those taken hostage by a gunman at a California veterans home says his daughter-in-law recently kicked the man out of a program that offered treatment to Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and head injuries.
Bob Golick said in a Friday afternoon interview with The Associated Press that his daughter-in-law Jennifer Golick called his son around 10:30 a.m. Friday to say she had been taken hostage in the building where she worked at The Pathway Home program. The son, Mark Golick, is Jennifer Golick's husband.
Bob Golick declined to discuss whether Jennifer was one of three Pathway workers authorities found dead in the building at around 6 p.m. Friday.
Authorities did not identify the workers or the gunman because they said they were still notifying relatives.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and wife Anne have offered their condolences to families and friends of the three women killed by a gunman in a Northern California veterans home.
Brown said Friday that he and his wife were deeply saddened by the killing of three women dedicated to serving veterans.
The three victims were employees of a nonprofit group that treated Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The Democratic governor ordered state Capitol flags flown at half-staff.
Authorities are not identifying the suspect in the California veterans home hostage standoff or the three women who were killed.
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told reporters Friday night that authorities were still working to notify their relatives.
The bodies were discovered at about 6 p.m. in a part of the veterans home that houses The Pathway Home.
It is a privately run program that treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder
Authorities have said that the women were employees of The Pathway Home.
Officials have said the suspect exchanged gunfire with a deputy at the center and took the women hostage at about 10:30 a.m.
The California Highway Patrol confirms a gunman and three women were found dead hours after he took them hostage inside a veterans home in California.
Assistant Chief Chris Childs says officers entered the room where the hostages were being around 6 p.m. Friday.
He says they were all found dead inside a room in the veterans home.
Childs says a bomb-sniffing dog had alerted on the suspect's car but no bombs were found in the vehicle. He says there is "no threat to public safety."
A U.S. official had earlier confirmed the deaths to The Associated Press.
A U.S. official says a gunman and three hostages have been found dead after a shooting and standoff at a veterans home in California.
The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity.
Authorities said earlier Friday evening that they hadn't had contact with the gunman for nearly eight hours since he slipped into an employee going-away party at the largest veterans home in the United States.
Authorities have not had contact with the gunman holding three people hostage for nearly eight hours and police tactical teams are forming plans on how to deal with the ongoing situation at a veterans home in California.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Robert Nacke told reporters that "there has not been any confirmed communication with the gunman since 10:30 in the morning."
Nacke called the situation at the veterans home "dynamic and active" and said he had no information about the hostages or their conditions.
He says tactical teams are "deciding which way to move forward."
Officials said those being held are employees of The Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home's grounds.
Officers at the scene of a California veterans home where a man is holding three people hostage say they have had no contact with the gunman since shots were fired around 10:20 a.m.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Robert Nacke said he knows of no contact Friday with the gunman or the people who were holed up with him at the veterans home in Yountville.
Police wearing fatigues have surrounded the building, and officials said earlier that three hostage-negotiation teams were at the scene to talk with the gunman.
Officials said those being held are employees of The Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home's grounds.
The program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A resident of a veterans home in California's wine country says more than a dozen armed troops have marched into the building where a gunman is holding three people hostage.
Brian Goder had been locked down in the main dining room of the Veterans Home of California-Yountville for hours.
Authorities say they're trying to negotiate with the gunman whose hostages are employees of the Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home's grounds. The program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Goder says the program treats veterans who "have more troubles than others."
He posted videos on Facebook of the police wearing fatigues marching into the building around 3 p.m. It wasn't clear what agency they were from.
An Army veteran says he has sent out alerts for residents of the largest veterans home in the U.S. to stay in place after a gunman took three people hostage.
Bob Sloan says he was working at the California facility's resident-run TV station when a co-worker came in Friday morning and said he had just heard four gunshots coming from the nearby Pathway Home, a privately run program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder on the grounds.
Sloan, a retired police officer, says residents are getting concerned because the situation has been going on so long.
He says he can see officers with "long-barrel assault-type weapons" crouching around the building and some taking cover behind trees.
Sloan says he sent out a red banner on in-house TV that read, "Emergency notice. This is an active situation, ongoing."
California authorities say some students rehearsing a play on the grounds of the largest veterans home in the U.S. had been locked down when a gunman took hostages.
But Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told reporters that about 80 students were near the area where the hostages were taken but were never in danger.
Teenagers from Justin-Siena High School who had been rehearsing in the theater drove themselves out in a line of cars Friday afternoon.
Sasha Craig spotted a family car carrying her 15- and 17-year-old children. She ran toward it, blowing kisses. She says teens had been texting their parents to "chill."
California authorities say they've been trying to contact the gunman holding three veterans program employees hostage at the largest veterans home in the U.S.
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told reporters that authorities have been trying to reach him on his cellphone and other nearby phones since Friday morning. He says officials know who the gunman is but weren't releasing his name and didn't know what his motive was.
Robertson says the gunman released some hostages and kept the three.
California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs says those still being held are employees of The Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home's grounds. The program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Childs says the gun is a rifle, but he's not sure of the type.
California authorities say officers exchanged gunfire with a gunman holding three veterans program employees hostage at the largest veterans home in the U.S.
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson told reporters Friday that "many bullets" were fired but that the deputies weren't injured. He says he doesn't know the status of the hostages or the gunman's motive.
California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs says they haven't made contact with the gunman who's confined to one room but that hostage negotiators are standing by.
He says the hostages are employees of The Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home's grounds. The program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jan Thornton of Vallejo is among hundreds of relatives worried about their loved ones at a Northern California veterans home that was locked down after reports of an active shooter.
Thornton says her 96-year-old father — a WWII fighter pilot — is inside a hospital wing at the home in Yountville, north of San Francisco.
Thornton says she's still shaking and that she hasn't been able to talk to her father. But, she says she was able to talk to one of his friends, who is also locked down, and that he told her that her father is safe.
She says her "heart just bleeds for the people that are being held hostage."
Though she thinks her dad is safe, she is still worried about the stress of the situation, considering his age and that he has post-traumatic stress disorder and some dementia.
A man says a gunman quietly came into a going-away party and staff meeting at a Northern California veterans home and let some leave, while keeping others hostage.
Larry Kamer says his wife, Devereaux Smith, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Pathway Home.
She was at the party Friday morning of 10 to 15 people at the Yountville veterans home. Pathway Home's program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kamer says his wife is now inside the home's dining hall and is not allowed to leave. He spoke to her by phone.
He does not know if the shooter was a veteran receiving treatment from the home.
Napa County Fire captain Chase Beckman said earlier that the gunman took at least three people hostage.
Kamer said he does not know why the shooter let his wife and some colleagues leave.
A fire official says no injured people have been treated at a California veterans home where at least three people have been taken hostage.
Napa County Fire Capt. Chase Beckman says dispatch received a call Friday morning about an armed man on the grounds.
An armored police vehicle, ambulances and several firetrucks could be seen at the scene.
California Highway Patrol Officer John Fransen confirms that there is an active shooter at the Veterans Home in Yountville, north of San Francisco.
He tells KTVU-TV the property of the large veterans home was evacuated after a man with a gun was reported on the grounds. He says officers are working to establish a secure perimeter around the facility and make sure others are safe.
The Yountville facility is the largest veterans' home in the United States, with about 1,000 residents.
Yountville is in Napa Valley, the heart of Northern California's wine country.
Napa County Fire captain Chase Beckman says a gunman has taken hostages at a veterans home in California.
Police closed access to the large veterans home in Yountville after a man with a gun was reported on the grounds.
The Napa County Sheriff's Department issued an alert to residents at 10:30 a.m. Friday warning them to avoid the area because of "activity at the Veterans Home in Yountville."
The Napa Valley Register reported that a man wearing body armor and armed with an automatic weapon entered the home.
The sheriff's department did not immediately respond to a telephone call from The Associated Press.
The state Veterans Affairs department says it is the largest veterans' home in the United States, with about 1,000 residents.