Gunman’s Previous Threats Ignored in California Veteran’s Home Shooting
YOUNTVILLE, CA. — A gunman in a standoff at a Northern California military veterans home — ending with the deaths Friday of three women who worked for a counseling program — had previously threatened one of the women, two law enforcement sources said. Police officers Friday evening stormed the room where Albert Wong had taken the hostages at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville eight hours earlier, and found the hostages and the gunman dead, authorities said.
The victims — Christine Loeber, 48; Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29 — worked at the Pathway Home, a nonprofit that operates at the larger facility and helps post-9/11 military veterans reintegrate into civilian life, including by counseling clients with post-traumatic stress disorder, officials said. “This is a tragic piece of news, one that we were really hoping we wouldn’t have to come before the public to give,” said Chris Childs, assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division.
Wong, 36, of Sacramento used to be a client at the Pathway Home, authorities said. Wong had been honorably discharged from the US Army, and was armed Friday with at least a rifle and a shotgun, one of the sources said. Wong and a sheriff’s deputy exchanged gunfire early in the standoff, and before officers entered the room they spent hours trying to contact him, authorities said.
The chaos started when the gunman barged into a going-away party for some departing Pathway employees Friday morning, according to Larry Kamer, who said his wife, Devereaux Smith, works there. But two the law enforcement sources, speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity, said Wong had threatened one of the women. Authorities didn’t give a motive for the gunman’s actions.
Wong was kicked out of the program because of that threat, one of the sources said. He said his wife and other employees managed to escape, though he didn’t say how. “Said he was very calm,” Kamer told CNN affiliate KPIX in San Francisco. Apparently he just walked in with this rifle,” Kamer said. Details about the threat and when it was made weren’t immediately available.