Three women and the gunman who took them hostage were found dead Friday evening at a home for military veterans in Yountville, Calif., hours after the gunman had fired at a deputy, Assistant Chief Chris Childs of the California Highway Patrol said at a brief news conference. One of the victims was a graduate of the Boston College School of Social Work, Christine Loeber.
Loeber was the executive director of the Yountville Pathway Home treatment program for veterans. Jen Golick, a staff psychologist, and Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs, are the other victims of the gunman.
“This is a tragic piece of news, one we were really hoping not to come before the public to give,” Childs said.
The Veterans Home was put on lockdown on Friday for over seven hours following reports of an active shooter in the facility. The shooter, who Napa County authorities identified as Albert Wong, was an Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan, and the Napa County statement said that he had been associated with the Pathway Home program.
University Spokesman Jack Dunn told the San Francisco Chronicle that Loeber was a gifted and passionate student.
“[Loeber] was passionate about helping those suffering from mental illness, and went on to a successful career in social work serving veterans,” Dunn said. “The prayers of the entire Boston College community are with the Loeber family in the wake of this senseless tragedy.”
Loeber was a therapist who previously did corporate development work. Originally from Massachusetts, she graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1991 and earned her master’s degree in clinical social work from BC in 2008. Her primary focus was on evidence-based treatments for veterans struggling to readjust after deployment.
“When these people are in combat, their systems are programmed to keep them alive under incredibly stressful situations,” Loeber said to the San Francisco Chronicle in November. “Nobody helps them understand that when they get back they have to reprogram their nervous system to operate at a different caliber so they can be successful civilians.”
Featured Image by Santiago Meija / The Chronicle