Three Victims of Deadly Hostage Shooting at a California Veterans Home Identified
The names of the three female victims of Friday’s deadly shooting at a Veterans home in Napa County, California, have been released by the coroner’s office.
Christine Loeber, 48, Dr. Jennifer Golick, 42, and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, 29, were killed after an armed gunman entered a staff meeting at Yountville Veterans Home campus in Yountville — the largest veterans home in the country — and took hostages, CNN reported.
June Iljana, a spokesperson for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, confirmed to PEOPLE that all three women were staff of the Pathway Home, a non-profit at the Yountville Veterans Home. The facility provides mental health and case management services for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Iljana said.
Loeber was the Pathway Home’s executive director, while Golick and Gonzales were both psychologists — Golick a staff psychologist and Gonzales a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System, ABC-7 reported.
“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 to ABC-7 reported. “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 gunman, who has been identified at Albert Wong, 36, was a former patient who had been treated at the Pathway Home, USA Today reported.
Shots from a rifle were first fired at about 10:20 a.m. in the dining room of the veterans home where Pathway employees were having cake for a going-away party for their coworkers leaving the job, CNN reported. The gunman took several hostages into one room before letting all but three escape.
After an 8-hour long standoff with police, he killed himself and three hostages, KCRA reported. Law enforcement officials found the bodies of three women and the gunman in a room inside the property.
Days before the shooting, Wong been asked to leave the program for unknown reasons, State Sen. Bill Dodd told the San Francisco Chronicle.
California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs told the Associated Press it was “too early to say if [the victims] were chosen at random.”
According to Napa County Sheriff John Robertson, police had “tried numerous times” to reach the Wong via his personal cell phone and the phones within the facility but could not reach him, The Mercury News reported.
Larry Kamer told the wire that his wife, Devereaux Smith was at a staff party and said the gunman had entered the facility and allowed multiple people to leave before taking others hostage.
The Pathway Home has helped more than 450 veterans cope with the effects of their deployments since opening its doors in 2008, its website states. The facility has a staff of 18 people.
One of it’s graduates, Adam Schumann, was the subject of the book, Thank You For Your Service, according to the home’s website. It was turned into a 2017 film starring actor Miles Teller.
California Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement after the shootings, saying, “Anne and I are deeply saddened by the horrible violence at the Yountville Veterans Home, which tragically took the lives of three people dedicated to serving our veterans. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones and the entire community of Yountville.”
He ordered flags at the capitol to be flown at half-staff in memory of the women, USA Today reported.