Gunman, 3 Hostages Dead at Calif. Veterans Home

Albert Wong, 36, had been expelled from the facility
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2018 6:15 AM CST
Fernando Juarez, 36, of Napa, center, embraces his 22-year-old sister Vanessa Flores, right, at the Veterans Home of California on Friday March 9, 2018. in Yountville, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(Newser) – A hostage standoff at a California veterans home ended Friday with a grim discovery: four dead bodies, including the gunman's. Authorities say Albert Wong, 36, a decorated Army rifleman, crept into the Veterans Home of California-Yountville with a high-powered rifle and held three mental health workers hostage for hours before killing them and himself, the Press Democrat reports. The victims were Christine Loeber, 48; Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29, who worked at a post-traumatic stress disorder program that had recently expelled Wong. "Three innocent souls gave their all and are no longer with us," says Vito Imbasciani, secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Wong slipped onto facility grounds at around 10am, exchanged fire with a sheriff's deputy, and then quiet—despite the swarm of law enforcement officers that lay siege and tried contacting him, the AP reports. The bodies were found about eight hours later. As for Wong, he had served three years in the infantry and garnered four medals, including a campaign medal in Afghanistan with two campaign stars. "Like many of our young men (in the military), he did see some rough times," says a woman who became Wong's legal guardian. Now authorities are trying to digest what happened. "I feel sick to my stomach. I feel sick to my heart," says Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena. "It’s just, it’s just really hard to think about it, talk about it. It’s another senseless killing."

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