(AP) — Former soldiers, health care workers and family and friends have celebrated the lives of three women killed this month by a combat veteran who barged into a farewell party for an employee at a veterans' care facility.
Hundreds of people packed a theater Monday on the sprawling campus of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville to honor Christine Loeber, Jennifer Gray Golick and Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, the Napa Valley Register reported .
The women worked at the Pathway Home, which counseled veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome and brain injuries sustained in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Albert Wong, 36, fatally shot the women on March 9 and then killed himself. The women had tried to help Wong before he was expelled from the program two weeks before the attack, authorities said.
Gonzales Shushereba's father, Mike Gonzales, urged people to ensure war-damaged veterans get the help they need. His daughter was six months pregnant when she died.
"Year after year, we continue to send our sons and daughters all over the globe to protect and defend us. They've had to see unspeakable things. They've had to do unspeakable things. ... They need resources, they need attention. They need our help, and these women dedicated their lives to that," Gonzales said.
Earlier Monday, flags were flown at half-staff at the Veterans Home and over the Capitol in Sacramento in honor of Loeber, Golick, Gonzales and her unborn daughter.
"We honor these women for their dedication and service, for their bravery in the face of terror, for the compassion they brought to veterans and their communities, and for the joy and love they shared with their families and loved ones," said California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat.