Yountville shooter killed himself, acted alone, report says
DA: Deputy justified in firing through door at gunman in March shooting
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.
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.