Yountville shooter reportedly struggled within PTSD treatment program, was referred elsewhere

Byby Katie Utehs KGO logo
Monday, March 12, 2018
Yountville shooter reportedly struggled within PTSD program
CHP investigators have closely guarded details of the case.

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- A picture posted November 23, 2017 of The Pathway Home's Executive Director Christine Loeber shows no signs of impending trouble. Veteran Albert Wong who killed Loeber and two other women on Friday is seen smiling alongside others. But, two weeks ago Wong left the program for post 9/11 veterans.

"He needed more treatment and the way to get more treatment was a referral, which they kind of indicated to him a better pathway for him and he apparently, obviously didn't like it," said State Senator Bill Dodd, District 3 (D).

Dodd says Wong was struggling in the program.

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"And if you have somebody that can't work within the system it makes it very difficult for everyone to get better," said Dodd. "Was that the case with Wong," asked ABC 7 New Reporter Katie Utehs. "That's my understanding," replied Dodd.

CHP investigators have closely guarded details of the case. We spoke with witness Sandra Woodford, a volunteer and veteran herself.

"What I heard first was a burst of gunfire. At least 12 shots," said Woodford.

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She and others locked down in the nearby Creative Arts building on the California Veteran's Home Yountville campus.

"At one point we did see three armed police come out of the entry way of the Pathway House, hug the wall. One had an assault weapon aimed up at the upper level like up on the second floor. One had a camera on an extension hugging the wall," said Woodford as she described the scene.

Dodd says he does not believe negotiators ever established contact with Wong who also killed Doctors Jen Golick and Jennifer Gonzales. Golick was a therapist and Gonzales a psychologist.

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"I've seen PTSD patients go off. It's not unusual. It's not rare. It's infrequent thank goodness," said Woodford who says she's worked with veterans in the Bay Area for more than 25 years.

Dodd said programs like The Pathway House do a lot of good, but it's not enough. He'd like to see more federal funding for veteran care. "We need a federal government that will stand behind the veterans who fight for us and sacrifice their lives," said Dodd.

The Pathway Home is a nonprofit and largely funded by local support. Dodd says the incident underscores the need for expanded veteran care.

Click here for full coverage on the deadly shooting at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.