Albert Wong, 36, has been named as the suspected gunman in the Yountville Veterans Home of California shooting, where a gunman took three hostages after sneaking into the building during a party. The gunman and the three hostages were found deceased after a nearly seven-hour standoff. SWAT, FBI, and ATF responded to the incident. The Veterans Home is one of the largest in the United States, housing at least 1,100 men and women from World War II to present day.
1. Albert Wong Was Named as Suspected Shooter in Yountville
The Veterans Home was put on lockdown on Friday after there were reports of an active shooter in the facility. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Johsua Kiser said in an email: “Law enforcement authorities have responded to the Yountville Veterans Home this morning following reports of gunfire near the main dining hall. The facility is on lockdown, and all residents and staff are sheltering in place. We will continue to update you as we get more information.”
Attempts to contact the suspect, Albert Wong, during the standoff were unsuccessful. After nearly seven hours, officials entered the building and found Wong and three women employees of The Pathway Home dead. The victims were Christine Loeber, Dr. Jen Golick, and Dr. Jennifer Gonzalez.
2. Albert Wong Is Suspected of Taking Multiple Hostages During the Incident, and Letting a Few Go Earlier in the Day
Early reports indicated that as many as 15 to 30 shots were fired before the Wong is suspected of taking hostages at the Veterans Home, on the second floor of The Pathway Home, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The gunman is also suspected of shooting at police as they surrounded the building. Everyone at the Veterans Home was told to shelter in place and lock their doors, and the entire facility was placed on lockdown.
At first, the gunman took more than just three hostages, but he let at least two go. Larry Kramer’s wife was one of the early hostages that the shooter let go. She was moved to an adjacent building and said the shooter seemed very calm. Despite attempts to contact the shooter, authorities were never able to speak with him during the standoff.
3. The Gunman Was a Veteran from Afghanistan Being Treated for PTSD Who Was Let Go from the Program Weeks Earlier
Napa Valley Register reported that the suspect, 36, was a member of the Pathway Home program for military veterans with emotional trauma. He was discharged from the treatment program two weeks ago. Senator Bill Dodd confirmed that he was a veteran suffering from PTSD, but said that he was kicked out of the program, not discharged. The facility describes the Pathway Home program this way: “The Pathway Home is an independent nonprofit organization offering a men’s residential recovery program dedicated to helping veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. The program is specifically focused on assisting soldiers who have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and other Gulf War theaters. The program was started in 2008 on the grounds of Yountville’s Veterans Home and is located in the Madison Hall. Since opening the program the staff of 18 has treated almost 200 non-senior veterans averaging 40 residents at any one time. It operates solely on private donations and grants.”
According to the LA Times, the suspect had served in Afghanistan.
4. The Gunman Was Wearing Body Armor & Arrived in a Rental Car
Napa Valley Register reported that Albert Wong is suspected of arriving dressed in black, wearing body armor, and carrying a rifle of some sort when he entered the building and began firing. Later reports said that he had a stash of bullets around his neck while he was holding three people hostage. The gunman took a rental car to the scene and a bomb-sniffing dog alerted at the car. However, authorities later determined that the rental car was safe.
5. The Veterans Home Is One of the Largest in the Country
The Veterans Home in Yountville is one of the largest in the United States. It houses 1,100 men and women of all ages, from World War II era to present-day. The Veterans Home dates back to 1884 and is a 600-acre campus. Residents and employees are sheltering in place. The Veterans Home is located off Highway 29 and California Drive in Yountville, at 260 California Dr. Entry to the Veterans Home has been blocked off to the public, and golfers have been cleared from the nearby Vintners golf course. Try to avoid the area if you can.
The Pathway Home was on the Veterans Home grounds, and was dedicated to helping post-9/11 veterans.
This is a developing story. We will update this story as we have more information.