YOUNTVILLE (KPIX 5) — Hundreds of people came together Monday evening to attend a solemn memorial honoring the three mental healthcare workers killed in a standoff on the grounds of the Yountville Veterans home.
More than a thousand people were expected to pay tribute to the three women who died in the shooting.
Pathway Home executive director Christine Loeber, 48, staff psychologist Dr. Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32, and staff psychologist Dr. Jennifer Gray Golick, 42, died instantly when they were shot with a rifle by former Pathway Home client Albert Wong, 36, in Madison Hall at the veterans’ home on March 9.
Shushereba’s unborn daughter Cecilia Rose Shushereba also died due to lack of oxygenated blood caused by her mother’s death, Napa County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Blower said.
Wong shot himself with a shotgun and died by suicide. He had been kicked out of the treatment program.
The doors to the theater opened at 4:30 p.m. Local community leaders, law enforcement as well as friends and family members were among those who arrived early.
Outside, a group of more than a dozen members of the American Legion are standing holding American flags, honoring the women who gave so much to the veteran community.
Gonzales Shushereba’s father, Mike Gonzales, urged people to ensure war-damaged veterans get the help they need. His daughter was six months pregnant when she died.
“Year after year, we continue to send our sons and daughters all over the globe to protect and defend us. They’ve had to see unspeakable things. They’ve had to do unspeakable things. … They need resources, they need attention. They need our help, and these women dedicated their lives to that,” Gonzales said.
“They used their inner light to fight darkness,” Keith Armstrong of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Healthcare System said. “We may be shattered but we are not deterred by what has happened.”
Golick was remembered as “a gifted healer and a woman with a big heart,” according to Armstrong.
She joined The Pathway Home in September 2017 after working in family service programs in Petaluma. She believed in working as a team and not just for oneself and was about to celebrate her 20th anniversary with her husband, Armstrong said.
Loeber, a former Boston resident and Red Sox fan, left a career in sports marketing and moved west to focus on women’s health, according to Armstrong.
She brought an East Coast determination with her, he said.
“When a New Englander says, I’m gonna get it done, they get it done,” Armstrong said. “She wanted to dig into the soil of human experience.”
The three women’s families were each presented with an American flag.
Yountville Mayor John Dunbar said he was honored to represent members of the community at the ceremony.
“All our hearts are broken,” Dunbar said. “Now it’s on us to continue serving our veterans.”
Dunbar said the women’s families appreciated the outpouring of support and asked that the community continue to serve the veterans and the mission they gave their lives for.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation honoring the three female employees of The Pathway Home.
“Today we remember three brave women and unborn child who died that day. These women’s lives were cut short by a man they were trying to help,” Brown said in the proclamation.
Brown also ordered flags flown at half-staff today over the state Capitol.
“We honor these women for their dedication and service, for their bravery in the face of terror, for the compassion they brought to veterans and their communities and for the joy and love they shared with their families and loved ones. The loss to the entire community is immeasurable,” Brown said.
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