We’ve learned some more details about the man who shot and killed three female workers, one of them pregnant, and then killed himself Friday at the Yountville, California, veterans facility. Albert Wong was reportedly a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan, but those close to him say he saw “terrible things” and was never the same after coming home.
His older adopted brother said Wong couldn’t sleep, was hyper-vigilant about his surroundings and became agitated over any perceived slight. Wong had hoped that the PTSD program at the facility would help him, but he was thrown out of the group, reportedly for possessing knives. His brother said he’s heard from others that Wong stopped taking his meds and started drinking, something he didn’t confide to his brother. His one-time guardian said that in less than a year, things started to unravel for him. Yountville’s mayor, who is also a board member for the Pathway Home program, called Wong "one of our heroes who clearly had demons."
It’s a tragic story all around, and not just in the horrible way it ended. There are still a lot of questions to answer, including whether Wong was allowed to slip through the cracks and go without help after he was thrown out of the program. Our veterans deserve the best care we can give them, even when their mental and emotional states make it difficult for them to accept it. As this case sadly shows, those may be the vets who need our help most urgently.
This link includes more information and a statement on Twitter about the shooting from President Trump. It also includes some of the expected reflex responses blaming the deaths on not enough gun control laws, which overlook that it happened in California, which already has many of the laws they’re calling for; that the shooter was known to have mental and anger issues but was turned away from treatment; and that in California, the guards charged with keeping such facilities safe are barred from carrying weapons, a policy their own union wants reversed.
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