A troubled combat veteran who fatally shot three mental health care providers at the California Veterans Home in Yountville in March had personally threatened to kill the women on multiple occasions, according to a report released Tuesday by the Napa County District Attorney’s Office.
Albert Cheung Wong, 36, had expressed anger and frustration toward the trio of clinicians at The Pathway Home residential treatment center even before he was kicked out of the program 2½ weeks before the deadly March 9 shooting, the report says.
His threats “were not generalized; rather, he had specifically threatened to kill members of the clinical staff by coming onto the premises and shooting them with a gun,” the report states.
On the morning of March 9, Wong returned to the Napa Valley veterans campus carrying a shotgun and semiautomatic rifle and wearing eye and ear protection, the District Attorney’s Office reported.
He entered the building housing the Pathway Home through a back loading dock and stormed a going-away party attended by staff and clients of the residential treatment center.
Within 12 minutes of his arrival in the meeting room, he had fatally shot the three clinicians and himself, authorities said, though an eight-hour lockdown would ensue before authorities knew the hostages all were dead. The first deputy on scene exchanged gunfire with Wong before the killings but did not hit him, investigators found.
Killed were executive director Christine Loeber, 48; Dr. Jennifer Golick, 42, a therapist; and Dr. Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Gonzales Shushereba was seven months pregnant. Her unborn child died, as well.
Wong, whose Army service included a year in Afghanistan, had been in the program for troubled and brain-injured veterans for nearly a year before his Feb. 20 discharge for refusing to comply with program policies and his own treatment program.
It’s not clear from the new report when he threatened the three women, nor if they reported the threats, nor whether there was any added security as a result. District Attorney Allison Haley released the report at 5 p.m. but neither she nor her staff were available for questions afterward.
Officers from the CHP’s Golden Gate Division, who investigated the shooting, also declined to answer questions beyond releasing a statement announcing the conclusion of their investigation in the case.
Wong, who had been living in Sacramento after leaving Yountville, left an apology letter for his landlord before the shooting, suggesting he would not be returning, the report said.
He later parked his rental car at the loading dock outside The Pathway Home and strode into the second-floor “Group Room” with a loaded 12-gauge, double-barreled shotgun and a .308-caliber semi- automatic rifle, along with nearly 100 rounds of ammunition, the report said.
He quickly ordered veterans in attendance to leave.
He then asked four staff members to go, calling out their names one by one, the report said, leaving him alone with his final three victims.
One of the women who was allowed to leave called 911 to report an active shooter, resulting in the quick arrival of Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Lombardi, a 26-year department veteran and range instructor who was the only deputy on duty in Yountville at the time. He arrived within four minutes of the 911 call and made his way up to the second floor, eventually observing a man with a rifle through a partially opened door.