3 woman, suspected gunman dead after hostage standoff at US Veterans home

At least three people taken hostage in Napa Valley

UPDATE: March 10, 6 a.m.:

Three woman are dead after a gunman took them hostage at a large veterans home in Yountville, California Friday.

Golden Gate Division police said they were able to make entry into the room where the hostages and gunman were being held at about 6 p.m., after a lengthy and tense situation unfolded through the afternoon.

There, they found all three woman dead, as well as a man believed to be the gunman, 36-year-old Albert Wong.

“This is a tragic piece of news, one we were really hoping not to come before the public to give,” assistant chief Chris Childs told reporters Friday night.

Police have also released information about the three victims.

All three worked at the home: Jennifer Golick was the clinical director. Christine Lieberman was the executive director and Jennifer Gonzalez was a clinical psychologist.

”I’d also like to say that we found the suspect vehicle,” Childs said.

“It was parked near the building. It was a rental car. Initially, we had a bomb sniffing dog sniff the car and came back with a positive result. The CHP SWAT team and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit were called in and they cleared the car. We are grateful to say the car is safe and there is no threat to public safety at this time.”

The area remains an active crime scene as police continue its investigation.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter, saying he was “deeply saddened” by the incident.

––

ORIGINAL:

A gunman took at least three people hostage at the largest veterans home in the United States on Friday, leading to a lockdown of the sprawling grounds in California, authorities said.

Authorities said they could not immediately say if anyone was injured. Police evacuated the property of the Veterans Home of California after reports of a man with a gun at the facility in the small town of Yountville in Napa Valley, the heart of Northern California wine country.

“We do have an active shooter situation with a hostage situation in Yountville,” California Highway Patrol Officer John Fransen told San Francisco Bay Area news station KTVU-TV.

The Napa Valley Register reported that a man wearing body armour and armed with an automatic weapon entered the home.

Fransen said authorities were working to establish a secure perimeter around the facility, which is home to about 1,000 residents. An armoured police vehicle, ambulances and several fire trucks were at the scene.

Events manager Elizabeth Naylor, who was working about 10 miles north of the veterans’ home, said she heard waves of emergency sirens. She said she’s lived in Yountville since 1995 and is rattled about a shooting so close to home.

“I don’t know the world we live in today, I really don’t,” she said. “This is a little community and we all know each other. Napa Valley is a wonderful, beautiful place and to know this is in your background, it’s unsettling.”

The Napa County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert to residents at 10:30 a.m. warning them to avoid the area. The department did not immediately respond to a telephone call from The Associated Press.

The state Veterans Affairs department says the home that opened in 1984 is the nation’s largest veterans home, with about 1,000 elderly and disabled residents. Its website says it offers residential accommodations with recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for independent living.

The grounds also are home to a 1,200-seat theatre, a 9-hole golf course, a baseball stadium, bowling lanes, a swimming pool, and a military Base Exchange branch store.

The Associated Press

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