California veterans home shootout: Gunman, 3 hostages found dead

ANI | Updated: Mar 10, 2018 11:43 IST

New York [USA], Mar 10 (ANI): A suspected gunman, along with three women believed to be hostages, were found dead at a California veterans home in the US on Friday, the police said.

The development brings an end to the situation at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, a 600-acre facility north of Napa wine country, which saw hours-long shootout at its premises, according to NBC.

"This is a tragic piece of news, one that we were really hoping we wouldn't have to come before the public to give," Chris Childs, assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division, said in a statement.

"The identities of the suspect and victims were not released. The situation is over and there is no threat to the public but an active investigation is continuing," Childs added.

According to the local authorities, the suspect, identified as male, was armed with a rifle and was firing indiscriminately before taking three female people as hostages inside a room of the veterans home.

The Veterans Home of California is one of the largest veterans homes in the country.

According to California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the facility opened in 1884 and is home to about 1,000 residents, including veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts respectively.

The police found a rental car, which was believed to belong to the suspect. While there were initial reports of the possibility of planting bombs near the veterans home, no such explosives were found.

"The hearts of the California highway patrol family go out those families that are grieving tonight, and I think I can speak on behalf of all law enforcement tonight. We express our deepest and most sincere condolences to the families," Childs said.

California Governor Jerry Brown condemned the incident and said that flags at the Capitol complex will be flown at half-mast in respect to the victims and their families.

This comes after a 19-year-old person named Nikolas Cruz went on a rampage at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14 and gunned down 17 students and injured 14 others. He allegedly used an AR-15 assault rifle that he had purchased legally.

Cruz was a former student and was expelled from the high school for disciplinary reasons. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

After the incident, many lawmakers, gun control advocates and student survivors of the Florida school shooting have urged the Trump administration to implement tougher gun measures in the US.

Many students across the US held mass protests and walk-ins of pressurising authorities to implement tougher gun laws. (ANI)