(YOUNTVILLE, Calif.) — Three hostages and a suspect are dead after a daylong standoff at a veterans home in Napa County, California, police said.
Assistant Chief Chris Childs of the California Highway Patrol said the siege, which began Friday morning, ended around 6 p.m., when law enforcement made their way into a room where the hostages were being held and found four bodies — three women and the male suspect.
“Shortly before 6 p.m., law enforcement personnel made entry into the room where we felt the hostages were being held, and unfortunately made the discovery of three deceased females and one deceased male suspect,” Childs said at a Friday-evening press briefing. “This is a tragic piece of news — one that we were really hoping we wouldn’t have to come before the public to give.”
Napa County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has identified the gunman — Albert Wong, 36 — and the three female hostages — Christine Loeber, 48; Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29.
Wong, of Sacramento, was a former member of the Pathway Home program at the veterans facility, officials said. Official reports stated that Wong was a former Army infantryman.
Loeber was the executive director of the program, Golick the clinical director, and Gonzales a psychologist, county officials said.
In a statement obtained by ABC station KGO-TV, the Pathway Home said the three hostages were “brave” and “accomplished.”
“These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans and working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement read. “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.”
After the bodies were discovered, Childs said the crime scene was still active.
Officials said there was no threat to public safety. Bomb-sniffing dogs found no explosives in the suspect’s car — only a cellphone.
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said earlier that officials do know the identity of the suspect but did not release it publicly.
“I don’t have any idea what his motivation is,” he said.
Robertson said at that time the suspect “did release hostages and kept the three he has now.” He added that they had tried calling the suspect numerous times since 10:30 a.m. that morning.
The incident took place at Yountville Veterans Home, a state-owned facility.
At the earlier briefing, officials said there had been an exchange of gunfire between the suspect, who was armed with a rifle, and a sheriff’s deputy, with Robertson saying there were “many” bullets fired.
Childs praised that deputy Friday evening.
“I’d like to take a quick moment to give credit to the initial responding Napa County sheriff’s deputy, who put himself in harm’s way knowing he had an active ongoing situation that involved shots fired, and exchanged initial gunfire with the suspect,” he said in the briefing after the standoff ended. “We believe and we credit him with saving the lives of others in the area by eliminating the ability of the suspect to go out and find further victims.”
The hostages were Pathway Home employees, which he described as meaning that they worked at the facility but were not direct employees of the home.
Multiple SWAT teams; agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and local law enforcement officials had all responded to the scene.
The incident was first reported in a call about shots being fired at the veterans home.
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Source: ABC National News