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Police have surrounded a suspect holding several hostages for hours at California veterans home
Authorities unable to make contact with hostage taker at California veterans home. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

Police have surrounded a suspect holding several hostages for hours at California veterans home

Three hostages are currently being held at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. A man exchanged gunfire with police, but no one has been injured or killed.

Since 10:30am, law enforcement has attempted to reach the suspect via his cell phone and land lines on site. He is reportedly a former serviceman, and initially took several more hostages before releasing them. The three remaining hostages work for The Pathway Home, which is a counseling service for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Reports say the hostage taker entered the facility wearing body armor and carrying a firearm. He interrupted an employee going-away party, according to those present.

The Veterans Home of California is the nation's largest veterans home, with former service members from Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, and World War II. It houses roughly 1,000 residents and its website says it provides accommodations with independent living offering recreational, social, and therapeutic activities.

Hostage negotiators from three law enforcement agencies are still attempting to make contact with the suspect.

Authorities have referred to the situation as "dynamic and fluid," while the facility released a statement saying "the safety of our residents, workers and the community is our top priority."

A 1,200-seat theater is part of the grounds, and 80 high school students were present there when shots were fired. Sheriff John Robertson with Napa County assured KGO-TV that "the students were never in any danger, and were placed on lockdown before being moved off the property by the bus."

In an interview with KGO, Veterans Home of California resident Paul Russo discussed his reaction to the instructions from law enforcement: "Go to your room, put all your furniture by the door and hide like cowards? No. We're veterans, man. We'll take this guy out in a second...I wouldn't kill him first, I'd shoot him in the leg and try to disarm him."

Yountville is nestled near several Napa wineries, close to the famous Thomas Keller restaurant The French Laundry.

Nearby resident Elizabeth Naylor reacted to the shooting when interviewed by the Associated Press, saying "I don't know the world we live in today, I really don't. This is a little community and we all know each other. Napa Valley is a wonderful, beautiful place and to know this is in your background, it's unsettling."

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