The Veterans Home at the Napa Valley community in northern California is one of the oldest in the United States and is home to nearly 1000 aging veterans who have served in the US armed forces right from the time of the Second World War. Men who served in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Iraq were all staying at this complex. The veterans home is an important part of the area and has a golf course, a large library, and 1200 seat theatre. The gunman reportedly entered the premises and took three women as a hostage. Gunshots were heard and the highway police reacted immediately.

CNN has reported that the gunman and the three women who were taken hostage were found dead by the authorities.

The shooting

The shooting has disturbed many people including Jerry Brown, governor of California. He has ordered flags in the state capital to fly at half mast in a tribute to the victims and their families. It's been learned that the three women were all employees at the old-age home and had dedicated their lives to helping men who had donned the uniform and were old and infirm or suffering from post-battle stress syndrome and needed treatment.

Al Jazeera has reported that the gunman just walked into the premises with his loaded rifle and broke into a party which was being held to bid farewell to one of the staff who was leaving the facility.

Police reaction

The police reacted with speed and by 10:20 a.m. when they heard the shots they had reached the old home. By that time the gunman had taken three women as a hostage and despite the best of attempts to contact him on his mobile and other numbers, he could not be reached. A bigger tragedy was averted by the timely reaction of the police.

In addition, 70 students who were inside a theatre on the grounds of the home were safely evacuated. it's a matter of great sorrow that despite the best of efforts by the police, three women who have dedicated their lives to helping veterans have been killed.

Gun control

America is replete with acts of mindless violence and not a day passes without a shooting incident.

At the root of the problem is the relaxed Gun Control laws that make it easy for anybody to own a gun. There is no doubt that crime cannot be controlled even if guns are taken away but at least the number of casualties which are caused by guns will go down. Nobody in a position of strength in America, including the US President is interested in any gun control. This is the first time that a veterans home has been targeted and now this incident will be added to the long-chain of deaths caused by gunmen in the United States. In this case, the gunman was identified but this is small consolation to the next of kin of women who died.