YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – A gunman took at least three people hostage at the largest veterans home in the United States on Friday, leading to a lockdown of the sprawling grounds in California, authorities said.
Authorities said they could not immediately say if anyone was injured.
Police evacuated the property of the Veterans Home of California after reports of a man with a gun at the facility in the small town of Yountville in Napa Valley, the heart of Northern California wine country.
We’re following this developing story closely and will have LIVE reports on Channel 2 Action News.
Larry Kamer says his wife, Devereaux Smith, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Pathway Home.
She was at the party Friday morning of 10 to 15 people at the veterans home. Pathway Home’s program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kamer says his wife is now inside the home’s dining hall and is not allowed to leave. He spoke to her by phone.
He does not know if the shooter was a veteran receiving treatment from the home.
BREAKING: Husband of worker at largest US veterans home says gunman slipped into party, let some people leave, kept others hostage.
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) March 9, 2018
“We do have an active shooter situation with a hostage situation in Yountville,” California Highway Patrol Officer John Fransen said.
Fransen said authorities were working to establish a secure perimeter around the facility, which is home to about 1,000 residents.
An armored police vehicle, ambulances and several fire trucks were at the scene.
Events manager Elizabeth Naylor, who was working about 10 miles north of the veterans’ home, said she heard waves of emergency sirens.
She said she’s lived in Yountville since 1995 and is rattled about a shooting so close to home.
“I don’t know the world we live in today, I really don’t,” she said. “This is a little community and we all know each other. Napa Valley is a wonderful, beautiful place and to know this is in your background, it’s unsettling.”
The Napa County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert to residents at 10:30 a.m. warning them to avoid the area.
The state Veterans Affairs department says the home that opened in 1984 is the nation’s largest veterans home, with about 1,000 elderly and disabled residents.
Its website says it offers residential accommodations with recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for independent living.
The grounds also are home to a 1,200-seat theater, a 9-hole golf course, a baseball stadium, bowling lanes, a swimming pool, and a military Base Exchange branch store.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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