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Former soldier who killed 3 at veterans home returned from Afghanistan traumatized, former guardian says

Sarah Parvini and Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The former Army soldier who killed three hostages Friday at a Napa Valley, Calif., veterans care facility was described as a "hero" in the service but who struggled when he returned home from Afghanistan.

The Napa County Sheriff-Coroner's Office identified the gunman as Albert Wong, 36, of Sacramento, who had been treated at the Pathway Home, a residential unit within the Yountville Veterans Home. He was found dead next to the bodies of three employees Friday afternoon, all with gunshot wounds.

Wong was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Yountville Mayor John Dunbar described Wong as "one of our heroes who clearly had demons."

Cissy Sherr, who with her husband became Wong's legal guardian after his father died when he was a child, said the soldier was deeply affected by the violence he saw.

"I think he realized that it started to catch up with him," she told the Associated Press. She said of his time deployed: "I had the impression he was kind of put in harm's way, knowing that he didn't have a family. He didn't seem the least bit resentful."

Officials have said Wong had post-traumatic stress disorder, and that's what sent him to the Yountville facility. Sherr said Wong told her, "I think I'm going to get a lot of help from this program."

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Authorities identified the victims as the home's executive director, Christine Loeber, 48; therapist Jen Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

Authorities have said they don't yet know whether Wong targeted the victims specifically.

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