Three hostages killed following standoff with gunman in the US

The gunman had been a member of the veterans' home

Three hostages killed following standoff with gunman in the US

Image: Facebook/Veterans Home of California - Yountville

Three hostages have been killed by a gunman, a former US Army rifleman, at a veterans' home in California.

The gunman, who served in Afghanistan, who had been kicked off a treatment programme at the facility.

The victims were executive director Christine Loeber (48), clinical director Jennifer Golick (42) and Jennifer Gonzales (29), a clinical psychologist.

Gunman Albert Wong (36) had been a member of the Pathway Home - a facility that looks after military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It forms part of the Veterans Home of California-Yountville, which houses around 1,000 elderly and disabled veterans.

California Highway Patrol assistant chief Chris Childs said the bodies had been found around 6.00pm, almost eight hours after the gunman slipped into a staff party.

Mr Childs said: "It's far too early to say if they (the victims) were chosen at random."

Larry Kamer said his wife had been at the party and phoned him to say the gunman had entered quietly before letting some leave and taking others hostage.

One of the dead, Jennifer Golick, also called her husband to say she was being held - but nothing was heard from her after that, said her father-in-law.

Police evacuated the building and closed off roads when the standoff began.

An armoured police vehicle, ambulances and fire engines were rushed to the scene, located about 53 miles north of San Francisco.

Wong exchanged fire with a sheriff's deputy at around 10.30am but then went silent, despite repeated police attempts to contact him.

In a statement, Pathway Home paid tribute to the victims: "These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation's veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan."