Former Army infantryman Albert Wong, 36, was equipped with a rifle on Friday when he slipped into the Pathway Home at the Veterans Home of California shortly before 10:30 a.m. local time.
The former patient took program executive director Christine Loeber, clinical director Jennifer Golick and psychologist Jennifer Gonzalez hostage as the facility went into lockdown.
Authorities were unable to contact Wong throughout the day, and when a tactical team finally entered the building nearly eight hours later, the gunman and his three victims were dead inside.
Gonzalez was a 29-year-old clinical psychologist, while Loeber, 48, was an executive director who received her graduate degree in social work from Boston College in 2008, according to her LinkedIn page.
Jennifer Golick, a top psychologist at the Pathway Home, last spoke to her husband, Mark, at around 10:30 a.m., when she called him to say she had been taken hostage by the former soldier.
She had recently ordered Wong removed from the program, which treats PTSD-afflicted veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, said her father-in-law Bob Golick.
Gunman holds people hostage at California veterans home
It remains unclear how long Wong was enrolled in the program or why he was kicked out.
Wong served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. He was previously stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, according to Mercury News.
Wong had received a number of service awards, including one for expert marksmanship with a rifle.
According to public records, Wong held licenses as a private investigator, firearms trainer and security guard.
He also had two firearms licenses, although one expired in 2010, and the second was valid until October 2017.
On Friday morning, Wong slipped into the facility during a going-away party and let some people go before taking the three hostage in a room, according to an employee’s husband Larry Kamer.
A responding sheriff’s deputy received an emergency call and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. The officer was not injured in the shootout.
The 600-acre veterans home was placed on lockdown, and relatives were worried about the safety of their loved ones before the hostage situation ended nearly eight hours later.
Located about 60 miles north of San Francisco in the heart of California’s wine country, the veterans home houses about 1,000 aging and disabled veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.
With News Wire Services
On – 10 Mar, 2018 By Jessica Chia