Yountville Shooting at Veterans Home of California: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Facebook Yountville Veterans Home

A lockdown was in place for nearly seven hours at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville after a shooting occurred and three hostages were taken by the gunman. The hostages were a psychiatrist, a clinical worker, and an executive director, according to NBC News. The first reports came in around 10:20 a.m. Pacific. Current reports indicate that as many as 15 to 20 shots were fired near Building G by an armed gunman who was a veteran himself, suffering from PTSD. A SWAT team, ATF agents, and the FBI all responded. NBC is now reporting that three hostages and the gunman died. Here’s what we know so far.

1. The Veterans Home Was Put on Lockdown After Reports of an Active Shooter

The Veterans Home was put on lockdown on Friday after there were reports of an active shooter in the facility. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Johsua Kiser said in an email: “Law enforcement authorities have responded to the Yountville Veterans Home this morning following reports of gunfire near the main dining hall. The facility is on lockdown, and all residents and staff are sheltering in place. We will continue to update you as we get more information.”

In an interview with the LA Times, Kiser said that everyone was in alert mode and the doors were locked and the shades were drawn. Napa Valley Register reported that the standoff is at the Pathway’s Madison Building on the Veterans Home grounds. Other reports noted that standoff was at Building G, which houses veterans from Desert Storm.

San Francisco ATF and a SWAT team are responding, and there are helicopters in the area.

Here’s a birds-eye view of the Veterans Home and police response:

And another view from the scene:

2. The Gunman Has Taken Three People Hostage

The gunman took three people hostage: a clinical worker, a psychiatrist, and an executive director, NBC reported. The FBI was trying to negotiate with the suspect for their release, but may not have been able to make contact, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

KRON4 reported that as many as 30 shots might have been fired outside the main dining area. Later reports indicated that 15 to 20 shots were fired before the people were taken hostage, KTVU reported.

3. The Gunman, a Veteran Suffering PTSD, May Have Been Dressed in Black and Wearing Body Armor

It’s not known yet who the shooter is, but Napa Valley Register reported that the man may have been dressed in black and wearing body armor and carrying an automatic weapon. One person on Twitter, whose father is at Yountville, said early on that a resident told her the gunman might have been a veteran with PTSD.

State Senator Bill Dodd later confirmed this with NBC Bay Area. Napa Valley Register reported that the suspect may be a member of the Pathway Home program for military veterans with emotional trauma. Early reports say he is 36 and was discharged from the treatment program two weeks ago. However, Dodd was reported as saying that the gunman had been kicked out of the program.  The Pathway Home is a residential program working with post-9/11 veterans “affected by deployment-related stress.” Many members of the program have seen multiple combat deployments and are dealing with issues that impede their re-entry into civilian life, according to the website.

4. The Veterans Home Is One of the Largest in the Country

The Veterans Home in Yountville is one of the largest in the United States. It houses 1,100 men and women of all ages, from World War II era to present-day. The Veterans Home dates back to 1884 and is a 600-acre campus. Residents and employees are sheltering in place.

The Pathway Program, which the gunman is suspected of being a part of, is described this way on the website: “The Pathway Home is an independent nonprofit organization offering a men’s residential recovery program dedicated to helping veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. The program is specifically focused on assisting soldiers who have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and other Gulf War theaters. The program was started in 2008 on the grounds of Yountville’s Veterans Home and is located in the Madison Hall. Since opening the program the staff of 18 has treated almost 200 non-senior veterans averaging 40 residents at any one time. It operates solely on private donations and grants.”

The security guards at the Veterans Home were unarmed, against the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association’s wishes. The following statement was released about the security guards:

5. Multiple Sources Are Reporting that the Gunman and the Hostages Died

For the majority of the standoff, authorities said there were no injuries. But now sources have told KTVU and NBC that the gunman and his three hostages died.

The Public Information Officer for the Veterans Home told CBS San Francisco that they were sheltering in place, but everyone was OK. A hotline for loved ones to find out about friends or family at the Veterans Home has been set up at (707)-948-3331.

The Veterans Home is located off Highway 29 and California Drive in Yountville, at 260 California Dr. Entry to the Veterans Home has been blocked off to the public, and golfers have been cleared from the nearby Vintners golf course. Try to avoid the area if you can.

Here’s another map showing where the Veterans Home is located:

This is a developing story. We will update this story as we have more information.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x