Gunman takes at least 3 people hostage at California veterans home

Gunman takes at least 3 people hostage at California veterans home

- in US

A gunman took at least three people hostage at one of the largest veterans homes in the country on Friday, triggering a lockdown at the campus in northern California, authorities said.

Law enforcement officers descended on the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, a 600-acre facility north of Napa wine country.

There were no reported injuries, and authorities did not provide information about the gunman or any potential motive or demands.

“We have activated our emergency response protocol and are cooperating with law enforcement,” the state Department of Veterans Affairs said in a Facebook post.

Authorities believe the suspect is armed with a rifle and holding the hostages inside a room on the grounds, said Chris Childs of the California Highway Patrol in Napa.

Larry Kramer told the Associated Press that his wife, Devereaux Smith, was at a party at the facility and told him over the phone that the gunman had quietly slipped into the room.

Smith said the gunman let some people leave while taking others hostage, Kramer told the AP. She was still inside the dining hall and was not allowed to leave, he added.

Authorities received a call around 10:20 a.m. local time of shots fired inside the facility. Sheriff’s deputies rushed to the scene and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, Childs said.

The facility opened in 1884 and is home to about 1,000 residents, according to CalVet — including veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Jan Thornton of Vallejo, California, told the AP that her 96-year-old father — a World War II fighter pilot — was inside a hospital wing. She had reached one of his friends, who said he was safe.

But she worried about the stress of the hostage drama on her father, who has post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia. Thornton told the AP her “heart just bleeds for the people that are being held hostage.”

This is a developing news story. Refresh for updates.

The Veterans Home of California in Yountville.