An armed man took three hostages during an “active shooter situation” at a California veterans home Friday afternoon, a fire official said.
Earlier, it emerged that the veterans home, described as the nation’s largest, was on lockdown after reports of shots fired.
FBI officials are enroute to the scene, KTVU reported, and are enlisting a SWAT team to negotiate with the gunman.
Three people were taken as hostages and shots were fired at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville — the largest in the United States — near the dining hall Friday morning, prompting a swarm of police activity. The FBI is on its way https://t.co/PmEDdRErzO pic.twitter.com/X3gbP8k2EJ
— KTVU (@KTVU) March 9, 2018
The Napa County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to the Veterans Home of California in Yountville and around 10:45 a.m. local time, a shelter-in-place order was issued, the Veterans Home told KRON4.
NAPA CO SHERIFF: Police activity at the Veterans Home in Yountville. Please avoid the area. No action required. https://t.co/DAGVsOILnV
— County of Napa (@CountyofNapa) March 9, 2018
Between 15 to 20 shots went off at the facility, police said, according to KTVU.
— KTVU (@KTVU) March 9, 2018
California Highway Patrol Officer John Fransen told the outlet the property of the large veterans home was evacuated after reports came in about an armed man on the grounds and law enforcement were working to build a secure perimeter.
“We do have an active shooter situation with a hostage situation in Yountville,” Fransen told KTVU.
A number of ambulances, firetrucks and an armored police vehicle were seen at the property.
“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,” the veterans home said in a statement on Facebook. “We have activated our emergency response protocol and are cooperating with law enforcement. Further official information will be provided by law enforcement when it is confirmed.”
The Napa Valley Register reported an armed gunman, dressed in black with body armor, entered the building.
The California Highway Patrol tweeted that they were aware of the incident and were working with officials to “bring the situation to a safe conclusion.” The unit told Fox News that there were no confirmed injuries at this time.
The CHP is aware of the incident at the Yountville Veterans Home and has officers and aerial resources on scene working with Napa County Sheriff’s deputies and others to bring the situation to a safe conclusion. A CHP SWAT team is also enroute. More details as info is available.
— CHP Headquarters (@CHP_HQ) March 9, 2018
The Press Democrat reported that family members of workers and residents were at the scene, anxiously awaiting word. Fernando Juarez, 36, of Napa said his 22-year-old sister Vanessa Flores is a caregiver at the facility and was exchanging texts with family while sheltering in place with a client.
Flores told family she could hear people yelling “Get down! Get down!” She also asked her brother to ensure her 3-year-old son is taken care of if she should not survive the ordeal.
“I’m trying to be calm,” Juarez said.
According to California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Home of California in Yountville dates back to 1884 and is considered the largest veterans home in the U.S. with more than 1000 veterans from all wars dating back to World War II.
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