Three hostages, gunman found dead at California veterans home

The hostages were employees Pathway Home, a program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A state senator told reporters that the gunman was a member of the facility.

world Updated: Mar 10, 2018 10:07 IST
Agencies, Yountville (California)
Vanessa Flores (R) embraces another woman after she leaves the locked down Veterans Home of California during an active shooter turned hostage situation on Friday in Yountville, California. (AFP photo)

Three women and a gunman who held them hostage at a California veterans home were found dead late on Friday, bringing a tragic end to an all-day siege at the sprawling facility for aging and disabled former members of the US military, police said.

A state senator earlier told reporters that the gunman was a member of the Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veteran home’s grounds, treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A sheriff's hostage negotiation team passes a California highway patrol checkpoint at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, Calif., Friday, March 9, 2018. (AP)

Larry Kamer told The Associated Press that his wife, Devereaux Smith, was at the morning staff party and told him by phone that the gunman had entered the room quietly, letting some people leave while taking others hostage.

The three hostages were Pathway House employees, said California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs said.

The entire complex, its staff and residents were placed under a security lockdown during the siege.

The state Veterans Affairs department says the home that opened in 1984 is the nation’s largest veterans home, with about 1,000 elderly and disabled residents. Its website says it offers residential accommodations with recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for independent living.

Yountville is a small town home to wineries such as Domaine Chandon, which is less than a half-mile from the veterans home, and Thomas Keller’s famed restaurant The French Laundry, which is about a mile away. Messages left at both establishments were not immediately returned.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 08:29 IST