Police responding to hostage situation at home for military veterans in California


A heavily-armed gunman stormed into the country's largest veterans home and opened fire before taking at least three people hostage Friday morning, authorities said.

There were preliminary reports of 30 shots fired outside the main dining area.

The shooter initially took multiple hostages.

California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Childs said the suspect exchanged gunfire with police, but that there are no reported injuries. Authorities know his identity, he said, though it has not been disclosed yet.

A man says a gunman quietly came into a going-away party and staff meeting at a Northern California veterans home and let some leave, while keeping others hostage. Kamer's wife, Devereaux Smith, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Pathway Home and was at the party. "She's in a locked down building", Larry Kramer told Reuters after speaking by phone to his wife who is safe but sheltering in place. She said she's lived in Yountville since 1995 and is rattled about a shooting so close to home.

The Veterans Home is built on roughly 600 acres, making it the largest veterans' home in the U.S., Kisser said.

Negotiating teams are trying to contact the gunman, who is believed to be armed with a rifle, he said. Hostage negotiators have not yet contacted the suspect.

As Ibanez arrived at the scene, he was told by SWAT to stay behind something, "because this guy has an automatic weapon".

A woman who lives on the property tells KTVU she is safe, and is now on lockdown. "She said it was just very calm". She posted on Facebook, "Please pray we have about 30 police here at the Vets Home there is a shooter here". "It's considered a lockdown building, you can't go in unless authorized".

Yountville Elementary School was on lockdown briefly.

The Yountville Veterans Home is said the largest veterans' home in the country, according to its website.

The grounds are also 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.

State Senator Bill Dodd, who represents the area, told reporters that the gunman was a member of the Pathway Home, a program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.