Gunman, 3 hostages dead after standoff at California veterans home

Aerial view of veteran's home in Yountville, California. (NBC Bay Area)

YOUNTVILLE, CA. - U.S. official said a gunman and three hostages are dead after an hours long standoff Friday at veterans home in California.

The gunman took at least three people hostage at the largest veterans home in the United States on Friday, leading to a lockdown of the sprawling grounds in California, authorities said.

Police evacuated the property of the Veterans Home of California after reports of a man with a gun at the facility in the small town of Yountville in Napa Valley, the heart of Northern California wine country.

The Napa Valley Register reported that a man with an automatic weapon was reported at the Napa Veteran’s Home. Senator Bill Dodd told NBC Bay Area that the shooter may be a veteran with PTSD who was asked to leave a program at the facility. 

Sen. Dodd also said the hostages could include the executive director and two clinical staff members.

Map showing location of veteran's home in Northern California.

The Associated Press reports an armed man has taken three hostages. The Napa County Sheriff's Department issued an alert to residents at 10:30 a.m. Friday warning them to avoid the area because of "activity at the Veterans Home in Yountville."

The Napa Valley Register reported that a man wearing body armor and armed with an automatic weapon entered the home. An armored police vehicle, ambulances and several firetrucks could be seen at the scene.

At least one school in the area was placed on lockdown. No injuries have been reported. 

CalVet: "Law enforcement is at the Yountville Veteran’s Home right now following reports of gunfire. The safety of our residents, workers and the community is our top priority. We have activated our emergency response protocol and are cooperating with law enforcement."

The state Veterans Affairs department says it is the largest veterans’ home in the United States, with about 1,000 residents. Veterans of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom now live at the home, according to the website.

Residents were temporarily evacuated from the veterans home in October when fires raged through Napa County.

Yountville is a town of about 3,000 residents in the north San Francisco Bay area.

Events manager Elizabeth Naylor, who was working about 10 miles north of the veterans' home, said she heard waves of emergency sirens. She said she's lived in Yountville since 1995 and is rattled about a shooting so close to home.

"I don't know the world we live in today, I really don't," she said. "This is a little community and we all know each other. Napa Valley is a wonderful, beautiful place and to know this is in your background, it's unsettling."

Husband says gunman let wife and others leave

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.

Larry Kamer says his wife, Devereaux Smith, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Pathway Home.

She was at the party Friday morning of 10 to 15 people at the Yountville veterans home. Pathway Home's program treats veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kamer says his wife is now inside the home's dining hall and is not allowed to leave. He spoke to her by phone.

He does not know if the shooter was a veteran receiving treatment from the home.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.