Help made available to survivors of Yountville hostage standoff

YOUNTVILLE (BCN) - Resources have been made available to survivors of a hostage standoff Friday at a veterans' home in Yountville that ended in the death of three hostages and the suspected hostage taker, the Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs said Saturday. 

Dr. Vito Imbasciani, the secretary, said veterans and employees at the home were traumatized when Albert Wong, 36, of Sacramento, allegedly shot and killed three employees of a program for veterans. 

"This is a really difficult day," Yountville Mayor John Dunbar said, adding that the community and the program lost three beautiful people. 

Dunbar added, "We also lost one of our heroes who clearly had demons."

Wong allegedly took the life of 42-year-old St. Helena woman Jennifer Golick, who was the clinical director of the Pathway Home program, which suffered the losses.

Wong also allegedly killed 48-year-old Napa resident Christine Loeber, who was executive director of the program, and 32-year-old Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist. 

Dunbar said the three women dedicated themselves to the lives of veterans, "bringing energy, vitality and personality" to their work. 

The Pathway Home program served mainly veterans who fought in wars after the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

The program provides educational, professional and clinical support to post-9/11 veterans pursuing school- or work-related endeavors as they transition to civilian life. 

Dunbar is a board member for the program. For a time, Wong was part of the program.

Six people remain in the program and they will continue to get care, Imbasciani said.  

The situation began at about 10:30 a.m. Friday morning at the Veterans Home of California at 260 California Drive.  

Wong allegedly had a rifle and exchanged gunfire with Napa County Sheriff's deputies in a room at the home, authorities said.

Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said his office knew who Wong was and called him on his cellphone, but he did not respond. 

Shortly before 6 p.m., law enforcement personnel entered a room at the veterans home where they found four people dead.  

Authorities said they found Wong's vehicle parked near the building and searched it. Authorities found a cellphone inside the vehicle but no bomb.

Early in the standoff, Wong allegedly had more than three people hostage, but he released all but three, authorities said. 

In a statement Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown said, "Anne and I are deeply saddened by the horrible violence at the Yountville Veterans Home, which tragically took the lives of three people dedicated to serving our veterans. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones and the entire community of Yountville." 

Brown added that flags at the capitol will be flown at half-staff in recognition of the victims and their families.

Forensic examinations of the dead will be scheduled next week at the Napa County coroner's office, sheriff's officials said.