The legal guardians of 36-year-old Albert Wong, the man who killed three women after a daylong siege at a veterans' home in Yountville, California., say he sought help after returning from Afghanistan.
"He was given meds, changed him,” said Cissy Sherr, Wong’s legal guardian. “I barely recognized him.”
Cissy and her husband, Matthew Sherr raised Wong since he was 8 years old. He lived with them for several years and later went into foster care as a teenager. Cissy described Wong as a happy, soft-spoken person and said his behavior Friday was unfitting.
“I’m shocked, saddened,” Matthew said. “I feel so bad.”
Cissy and Matthew kept in touch with Wong while he was in the Army and upon returning home from Afghanistan, he sought their help once more.
“He would sit on the sofa, he'd say ‘I can't believe I'm in a safe place … no bombs under your feet,” Cissy said.
They knew Wong was getting help from the veterans' home and they said he seemed very hopeful. Still, they weren’t surprised to hear he had a rifle, considering he was trained and had a license.
As the Sherr’s wait to hear from authorities and learn more from the autopsy reports, they send support to the victim’s families.
“My heart and prayers have been with them from the beginning,” Matthew said.
Authorities said Wong went to the campus about 50 miles north of San Francisco on Friday morning, slipping into a going-away party for some employees of The Pathway Home. He let some people leave but kept three women hostage.
Those who knew the women said they had dedicated their lives to helping those suffering like Wong, and they would've been in a good position to assist him, had Friday's hostage situation ended differently.
Police said a Napa Valley sheriff's deputy exchanged gunshots with Wong around 10:30 a.m. but after that nothing was heard from him. In a vet-center crafts building across the street from the PTSD center, witness Sandra Woodford said she saw officers with guns, but said the only shots she heard were inside Pathway early Friday. "This rapid live-fire of rounds going on, at least 12," Woodford said.
Hours later, authorities found four bodies, including Wong's.
The victims were identified as The Pathway Home Executive Director Christine Loeber, 48; Clinical Director Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29, a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
A family friend told The Associated Press that Gonzales was seven months pregnant.
Associated Press Contributed to this article.