D.A. concludes deputy's use of force in Yountville veterans home shooting was justified

NAPA (BCN) Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley has announced that no charges will be filed against a sheriff's deputy who exchanged shots with a gunman who killed three women and himself in a facility at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville in March.

Haley said Wednesday her office determined that sheriff's Deputy Steve Lombardi's use of potentially deadly rifle fire against gunman Albert Wong was "a reasonable and lawful use of force under the totality of the circumstances."

"The actions were legally justified," Haley said in a written analysis. Her review, based on a report by the California Highway Patrol, was a routine procedure carried out by district attorneys when a law enforcement officer uses lethal force. 

The review noted that autopsy reports concluded Wong and the three victims were not hit by any of the rifle shots fired by Lombardi through a closed door at the Pathway Home mental health facility at the veterans' campus.

Wong, 36, of Sacramento, a U.S. Army veteran, entered a group meeting room at the facility at 10:19 a.m. on March 9, carrying a loaded semi-automatic rifle and shotgun. He had previously resided at Pathway Home, but was discharged on Feb. 20 because he refused to comply with his treatment 
plan.

Wong ordered veterans to leave the room, then released most staff members except for the facility's executive director and two psychologists, and then shot and killed the three women and himself. 

Lombardi was the first officer on the scene, arriving at the campus four minutes after the first call to 911 was received from escaped hostages. He reached the second-floor meeting room, partly opened the door and saw Wong holding a rifle.

Lombardi let go of the door and took up a position covering the doorway, according to the review. When he heard Wong's rifle being racked and a woman screaming, he fired 13 rounds through the door at the location where he last saw the gunman. Wong returned 22 rounds of rifle fire toward Lombardi 
during the 10-second sequence, according to the review.

Additional officers arrived six minutes later and there was no further engagement with Wong, the review said.

The victims were executive director Christine Loeber, 48; clinical director Jennifer Gray Golick, 42; and clinic psychologist Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32. 

The Pathway Home, which supported veterans in the transition to civilian life, closed after the shooting.

It announced in July that it will not reopen and instead is referring veterans to other facilities.

Haley's written review can be found online at https://www.countyofnapa.org/1335/Media-Center.

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