Friends, neighbors and guardians are painting a complex picture of Albert Wong, a decorated Afghanistan War veteran who authorities say shot and killed three people before killing himself at a Veteran Affairs rest home in the Napa wine country.
The Press Democrat reports Wong had a troubled youth and spent most of his adolescence in a San Francisco Bay Area foster home with six foster brothers.
According to his oldest adopted brother, Wong once pushed one of his brothers down the stairs, breaking his leg. Tyrone Lampkin said Wong’s father died when he was eight.
Despite that, his guardians, Cissy and Matthew Sherr, described him as a “happy young man” and would never suspect he would be capable of killing three people.
Wong spent a year in Afghanistan beginning in 2011 and was clearly affected by his experience, and had trouble sleeping.
“They had to look out for each other lives. He saw what we see that we think we only see in the movies. Albert had to see that,” said Cissy Sherr.
Ricardo Saenz, a friend of Wong from their days together in military training, said Wong became homeless after being kicked out of a VA program a few weeks ago.
“He was trying to put his feet on the ground and it was hard for him,” Saenz said to the Sacramento Bee. “I’m disappointed he didn’t ask for help. None of this should have happened. He should have taken help.”
Jeffrey Watts, another friend who was deployed with Wong in Afghanistan, said he kept in touch with his friend every two weeks.
“Everyone that knew him loved and respected him. He was, hands down, the best soldier we had. He was hard working and dedicated,” Watts said to the Bee.
Former neighbors of Wong in Napa said the incident gave them chills. “I can’t imagine somebody that sick being around here, especially having kids and being a very family focused neighborhood.”
His adopted brother Lampkin told ABC7 had many good qualities, but lost his way.
“Albert was a good person, he really was a good person,” said Lampkin to the Bee. “I heard he stopped taking his meds and started drinking a lot … He never told me, he never told me.”
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