Yountville shooter killed him­self, acted alone, re­port says

DA: Deputy jus­ti­fied in fir­ing through door at gun­man in March shoot­ing

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Matthias Gafni mgafni@ba­yare­anews­group.com

YOUNTVILLE >> Af­ter leav­ing an apol­ogy note with his land­lord, Al­bert Wong walked into the Yountville Vet­er­ans Home car­ry­ing a loaded 12-gauge shot­gun and a .308-cal­iber semi-au­to­matic ri­fle with a 20-round mag­a­zine. He wore safety glasses and ear pro­tec­tion.

It was shortly af­ter 10 a.m. March 9 and the 36-year-old Army com­bat vet­eran went to the sec­ond floor “Group Room,” where a small gath­er­ing of Path­way Home staff and res­i­dents were en­joy­ing a goin­g­away party. Wong or­dered the vet­er­ans to exit the room, ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued Tues­day evening by the Napa County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice. One by one, Wong re­leased the re­main­ing staff, un­til only three were left: Dr. Jen­nifer Gon­za­les Shush­ereba, who was seven months preg­nant; Dr. Jen­nifer Golick; and Path­way Home Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Chris­tine Loe­ber.

Within 12 min­utes, all three women and Wong would be dead in the mass shoot­ing, de­spite the ef­forts of a sin­gle Napa County sher­iff’s deputy, the only law en­force­ment of­fi­cer who ar­rived in time.

The re­port, along with a sum­mary of the in­ci­dent re­leased by the CHP, pro­vides the most ex­ten­sive de­tails to date of what hap­pened on March 9 at the bu­colic vet­er­ans home and the Path­way Home non­profit that helps trau­ma­tized vet­er­ans of Iraq and Afghanistan re­turn to civil­ian life. The Napa County Dis­trict At­tor­ney de­ter­mined sher­iff’s Deputy Steven Lom­bardi was jus­ti­fied in shoot­ing through a door at Wong dur­ing a brief but hel­la­cious fire­fight.

The re­port said Wong killed him­self and acted alone in the shoot­ing.

Wong, who drove a rental car to Madi­son Hall on the Yountville cam­pus, was a

for­mer res­i­dent who was dis­charged Feb. 20 due to “his re­fusals to com­ply with pro­gram poli­cies and treat­ment plan,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“Wong had ex­pressed ex­treme anger and frus­tra­tion to­ward the clin­i­cal staff due to many prior dis­agree­ments and his re­cent dis­charge from the pro­gram,” the re­port said.

He pre­vi­ously had made death threats against the three women he tar­geted.

“Th­ese death 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 said.

Wong car­ried three ex­tra 20-round mag­a­zines in a tac­ti­cal belt around his waist, along with a dozen shot­gun shells. He en­tered the room at 10:19 a.m. Staff mem­bers who were al­lowed to leave the room called 911 two min­utes later re­port­ing: “We have an ac­tive shooter.”

Lom­bardi, a 26-year vet­eran of the sher­iff’s of­fice, was on pa­trol in Yountville and reached the vet­er­ans

home in four min­utes. Lom­bardi — who had served as the depart­ment’s range in­struc­tor for al­most a decade — had a ri­fle and two hand­guns. A staff mem­ber flagged him down and di­rected him to a stair­well to reach the sec­ond floor, where Wong had taken hostages.

“Deputy Lom­bardi re­fused to al­low the Path­way Home em­ployee to ac­com­pany him to the sec­ond floor be­cause he feared for the em­ployee’s safety,” the re­port said. He was the only of­fi­cer at the fa­cil­ity at that point and was “gravely con­cerned for the safety of the hostages.”

When he reached the sec­ond floor Lom­bardi could not lo­cate the gun­man, and be­gan clear­ing rooms by him­self. He reached the “Group Room” and par­tially pushed open the closed me­tal door, spot­ting the sus­pect hold­ing a ri­fle. He let go of the door and backed up to take cover, the re­port said.

“Deputy Lom­bardi then heard the ri­fle held by the gun­man be­ing racked and the scream of a woman,” the re­port said. “Deputy Lom­bardi

feared for the safety of the scream­ing woman and de­ter­mined he needed to kill the sus­pect to save her life, stat­ing ‘I didn’t want her to die.’ ”

At 10:31 a.m., Lom­bardi fired his .223 ri­fle through the me­tal door at the last lo­ca­tion where he saw the sus­pect. The sus­pect be­gan fir­ing back through the door at him and Lom­bardi re­turned more fire and re­treated to a

safe po­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. A photo of the door is at­tached to the DA’s re­port, show­ing about 20 bul­let holes in the door and ad­ja­cent wall.

Lom­bardi reloaded his ri­fle and waited for Wong to exit the room. What he didn’t know then was ev­ery­one in­side the room was al­ready dead.

Phys­i­cal ev­i­dence at the scene de­ter­mined that im­me­di­ately

af­ter the shootout with the deputy, Wong ex­e­cuted the three women us­ing his ri­fle, be­fore killing him­self with the shot­gun, the re­port said.

Lom­bardi fired a to­tal of 13 rounds from his ri­fle dur­ing the 10-sec­ond gun­bat­tle. Wong fired 22 rounds from his .308-cal­iber ri­fle. Au­top­sies found no bul­lets fired by Lom­bardi struck the three women.

Six min­utes af­ter the first shot was fired, more of­fi­cers ar­rived but the gun­fight was over.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors later found an apol­ogy by Wong to his land­lord, im­ply­ing he would not re­turn. Napa County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Al­li­son Ha­ley de­ter­mined Wong planned the mur­ders. She de­ter­mined Lom­bardi’s de­ci­sion to fire through the door was a “rea­son­able and law­ful re­sponse un­der the to­tal­ity of the cir­cum­stances.”

The fi­nal re­port also in­cluded pho­tos of Wong’s ri­fle and shot­gun, along with his am­mu­ni­tion belt.

Wong

COUR­TESY OF NAPA COUNTY DIS­TRICT AT­TOR­NEY

The door to the “Group Room” af­ter the of­fi­cer in­volved shoot­ing when Al­bert Wong shot and killed the three clin­i­cians at the Yountville Vet­er­ans Home in 2018.

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