Christine Loeber, executive director of the Pathway Home program for veterans, was one of the hostages at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, where a hostage situation turned tragic after the gunman and his last three hostages were found deceased. The Veterans Home was put on lockdown on Friday for more than seven hours after there were reports of an active shooter in the facility. It is not known if Loeber died in the hostage standoff, but it was reported that she was a hostage and executive director of the program that the gunman had been asked to leave. Here’s what you need to know about Christine Loeber.
1. Christine Loeber Was a Hostage at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville
Christine Loeber, 47, was one of the hostages during a nearly seven-hour standoff at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. Reports indicated that the gunman, 36, entered the building during a party, took a number of people hostage, and then locked himself into a room with three hostages. Officials reported that after the gunman released some of his initial hostages, he and the last three remaining hostages were later found dead. Some reports indicated that one of the three hostages was executive director of the program, but the names of the hostages who died have not yet been released by law enforcement as of the time of publication. However, State Senator Bill Dodd did name Loeber as one of the last three hostages.
Napa Valley Register reported that the standoff was at the Pathway’s Madison Building on the Veterans Home grounds. Police, SWAT, ATF, and the FBI all responded.
2. The Pathway Program Helps Post-9/11 Veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Gulf War Deployments
The Pathway Home is a residential program working with post-9/11 veterans “affected by deployment-related stress.” Many members of the program have seen multiple combat deployments and are dealing with issues that impede their re-entry into civilian life, according to the website. According to the Pathway Program’s website: “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.”
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.
3. Loeber Said that Many Veterans Need to Have Their Systems ‘Reprogrammed’ After Combat
Loeber and the Pathway Program were featured in a San Francisco Chronicle story in November 2017. She told the Chronicle: “When these people are in combat, their systems are programmed to keep them alive under incredibly stressful situations. Nobody helps them understand that when they get back they have to reprogram their nervous system to operate at a different caliber so they can be successful civilians.”
4. The Gunman Was a War Veteran Treated for PTSD at the Pathway Program
Napa Valley Register reported that the man may have been dressed in black and wearing body armor and carrying an M4 type of weapon. State Senator Bill Dodd confirmed this NBC Bay Area that the suspect was a member of the Pathway Home program for military veterans with emotional trauma. Early reports say he was 36 and was discharged from the treatment program two weeks ago. However, Dodd later clarified that the gunman had been kicked out of the program.
The gunman took five hostages at first, but released two. Authorities said he was a 36-year-old veteran who was wearing a stash of bullets around his neck and waist, SFGate reported. He walked in with a rifle, but some people were able to escape before he started firing. Hostage negotiators from the Napa Sheriff’s Office and the FBI tried to contact the gunman during the standoff but were unable to reach him.
Loeber Had Planned to Open the Pathway Home to Women Too
Loeber was a social worker with a master’s degree from Boston College, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. She had been working at VA clinics in San Francisco and Menlo Park when she was hired by Pathway, including a location made famous in the book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Pathway Home had always been open just to men, but Loeber had plans to open it to women too and house them on a different wing from the men. Pathway was home to 14 men, but was expected to rise to 34 residents once women were added.