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3 women killed in veterans home standoff helped former service members with PTSD


The three women killed in a daylong standoff at a California veterans home worked with a non-profit program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The women were found dead along with the suspect, 36-year-old Albert Wong, on Friday night at the end of the all-day siege at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in Napa County on Friday night, officials said.

Wong, who was armed with a rifle, had earlier released other hostages while keeping the three women, all of whom worked for The Pathway Home, a residential program for post-9/11 veterans who are affected by deployment-related stress, including PTSD, according to the program's website.

The victims are Pathway Home executive director Christine Loeber, 48, clinical director Jennifer Golick, 42, and psychologist Jennifer Gonzales, 29. Their bodies were found with Wong's at around 6 p.m. PT Friday, when authorities entered a room inside the state-owned veterans home where the hostages were being held.

"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," California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs said at a press briefing Friday night. "This is a tragic piece of news — one that we were really hoping we wouldn’t have to come before the public to give."

The Pathway Home called the victims "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," said a statement obtained by ABC station KGO in San Francisco. "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."

Wong was a former member of the Pathway Home program at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville, officials said. The Associated Press reported that a relative of one victim said Wong recently was kicked out of the program.

The Pathway Home and the Veterans Home of California-Yountville did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests on Saturday to confirm or comment on Wong's connection to the program.

According to service records obtained by ABC News, Wong served as an infantryman during his three years of active duty in the U.S. Army, ending in August 2013. He was deployed to Afghanistan for one year.

The records show Wong had a decorated career in the Army, earning several medals, including an Afghanistan campaign medal with two campaign stars.

At the end of the hostage standoff Friday with the discovery of the bodies, officials said there was no threat to public safety. Bomb-sniffing dogs found no explosives in the suspect's vehicle — only a cell phone.

The incident was first reported Friday morning in a 911 call about shots fired at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville. Multiple SWAT teams, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as local law enforcement officials all responded to the scene.

There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and a sheriff's deputy, according to officials. Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said at an earlier briefing that "many bullets" were fired.

Robertson said at the time that officials knew the identity of the suspect but the motive remained unclear.

"I don't have any idea what his motivation is," the sheriff said.

The suspect "did release hostages and kept the three he has now," Robertson said

"We've tried [calling the suspect] numerous times and been trying since 10:30 this morning," he said at the press briefing.

Childs, the assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol, later praised the sheriff's deputy who exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

"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," Childs said in the Friday night press briefing, after the stand-off had 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."

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the victims' families Saturday morning.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Yountville and mourn the loss of three incredible women who cared for our veterans," he tweeted.

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