Vet in California attack had trouble after return from war

Published March 10
Updated March 10

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. — The man who killed three women after a daylong siege at a Northern California veterans home had trouble adjusting to regular life after he returned from the Afghanistan war and had been kicked out of the treatment program designed to help him.

As family and friends of the victims tried to make sense of the tragedy, authorities offered little information Saturday about why 36-year-old Albert Wong attacked the Pathway Home and whether he targeted his victims. Those who knew the three women said that they had dedicated their lives to helping those suffering like Wong.

"We lost three beautiful people yesterday," Yountville Mayor John Dubar said. "We also lost one of our heroes who clearly had demons that resulted in the terrible tragedy that we all experienced here."

Authorities said Wong, a former Army rifleman who served a year in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 and returned highly decorated, went to the campus about 50 miles north of San Francisco on Friday morning, slipping into a going-away party for some employees of the Pathway Home. He let some people leave, but kept the three.

Police said a Napa Valley sheriff’s deputy exchanged gunshots with Wong around 10:30 a.m. but after that nothing was heard from him. From a vet-center crafts building across the street from the PTSD center, witness Sandra Woodford said she saw lawmen with guns trained outside, but said the only shots she heard were inside Pathway early Friday.

Hours later, authorities found four bodies, including Wong.

His victims were identified as the Pathway Home executive director Christine Loeber, 48; clinical director Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29, a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

 
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