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December 6, 2022
California officials have agreed to pay $51 million to settle lawsuits against the state stemming from a shooting at a home for veterans in Northern California where a former patient fatally shot three female mental health workers and then himself.
On March 9, 2018, Albert Wong, a 36-year-old former Sacramento resident and Army veteran who spent a year in Afghanistan, took three people hostage at The Pathway Home, a nonprofit that operated a program at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. The nonprofit treated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Wong had been treated at the program but was expelled after he refused to comply with his treatment plan. Officials said Wong shot and killed 42-year-old Jennifer Golick, 48-year-old Christine Loeber and 29-year-old Jennifer Gonzales before killing himself. Golick and Gonzales were counselors and Loeber was the director of the program.
The settlement “authorizes $51 million one-time to pay for settlement costs at the Veterans Home of California, Yountville related to the 2018 shooting,” according state budget documents approved by the Legislature this week.
Ronald Foreman, the attorney for the family of Dr. Jennifer Golick, a 42-year-old therapist killed by the gunman, said the settlement “is the first step in a long journey” and that other lawsuits over the incident are pending. “That’s the first step in getting them compensation for the horrible tragedy they suffered on March 9, 2018, and continue to suffer,” Foreman said.
An official with the California Department of Veterans Affairs said the settlement covers four lawsuits filed on behalf of the three victims killed by Wong.
The Golick family will receive $14 million under the settlement, spokeswoman Lindsey Sin wrote in an email. The family of Christine Loeber, 48, a director at the nonprofit Pathway Home on the Veterans Home campus who also was killed, will receive $7 million. And the estate of Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32, a clinical psychologist who was seven months pregnant, will receive $30 million.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SF CHRONICLE