A gunman and three female hostages were dead Friday evening after an hourslong “active shooter situation” at a veterans home in Napa County, Calif.
The bodies were discovered around 6 p.m. local time, about eight hours after the gunman slipped into an employee going-away party in a building that houses Pathway Home, a program that assists combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The three slain women were employees of the program at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.
Napa County Sheriff John Robertson declined to identify the gunman Friday night, but authorities said he was a veteran who was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Authorities said they know who the gunman is, but they would not identify him or discuss a possible motive.
In a statement Friday night, Pathway Home identified the employees who were killed: Christine Loeber, executive director; Dr. Jen Golick, a therapist; and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
“These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement said.
California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs, of the Golden Gate Division, said officers entered the room where the hostages were being held around 6 p.m. and found the bodies.
Exactly when the hostages and gunman died was unclear, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Prior to that, authorities said, they hadn’t had contact with the gunman for nearly eight hours since he entered the area where the party was being held.
Officials said the suspect exchanged gunfire with a deputy at the center when he took the women hostage about 10:30 a.m.
Responding deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was armed with a rifle. Authorities said at least 15 to 20 shots were fired in Building G, starting about 10:30 a.m.
Childs said hostage negotiators from at least three agencies were at the scene, attempting to make contact with the individual.
Brian Goder, a resident of the veterans home who was under lockdown for hours in the main dining room of the veterans home, told the Associated Press that he saw more than a dozen armed troops walking to the building in which the suspect and hostages are located. The soldiers could be seen in a video he posted on Facebook, but it wasn’t immediately clear what agency they were from.
The hostages were reportedly employees of Pathway Home, a privately run program on the veterans home’s grounds. That group “serves post-9/11 veterans affected by deployment-related stress,” according to the Pathway Homes website.
Earlier Friday, a number of ambulances, fire trucks and an armored police vehicle were seen at the property.
A group of about 80 students who were on the home’s grounds were safely evacuated after being locked down, the sheriff said. The teens from Justin-Siena High School were at a theater there, rehearsing a play.
“They were a distance away from the shooting situation,” Robertson said.
Some of the children were driven away on school buses and others in cars.
According to the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Home of California in Yountville dates to 1884 and is considered the largest veterans home in the U.S. with more than 1,000 veterans from all wars dating to World War II.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.