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Yountville victims: Family mourns psychologist with strong South Bay roots

Jennifer Gonzales, a psychologist who was killed along with her unborn child in the Yountville shootings Friday, had deep South Bay roots as an alumna of Saint Francis High School and other personal and professional ties in San Jose.
This undated photo provided by PsychArmor Institute shows clinical psychologist Jennifer Gonzales, a victim of the veterans home shooting on Friday, March 9, 2018, in Yountville, Calif. Gonzales was killed by a former patient at Pathway Home, a treatment program for veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (PsychArmor Institute via AP) 
Monday, her husband, T.J. Shushereba, and father, Mikel Gonzalez, told NBC News about how Gonzales was looking forward to her first wedding anniversary this week, and the baby she was expecting in June.
“There was a lot of life ahead,” Shushereba told the network.
Gonzales was described by her father as “the Halley’s Comet of great daughters.”
“Our guts have been ripped out,” he told NBC News. “Our grief is unmeasurable… We’re devastated.”
Gonzalez and Shushereba also voiced a mixture of “frustration” and sympathy for the shooter, 36-year-old Army veteran Albert Wong, who had been expelled from The Pathway Home program on the Yountville Veterans Home campus in Napa County, where he had been recently been getting treatment for PTSD.
The ambivalence was in part deference to Gonzales’ work on treating post-traumatic stress, a cause to which she had dedicated her professional life.
“While we deeply hate the actions of Albert Wong … I think Jennifer would want us not to hate the person,” Gonzalez told NBC News. “This man had a problem, was sick, and needed help.”
The state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services on Monday followed up on assorted media reports that Wong had once been licensed to work as armed security guard, disclosing that his licenses were cancelled last fall for failure to pay required annual fees. Authorities have not disclosed why Wong was expelled from the Pathway program, or whether any earlier concerns about him were reported to law enforcement.
Gonzales — who died Friday along with Pathway Executive Director Christine Loeber, 48, and 42-year-old Clinical Director Jennifer Golick, 42 — attended St. Martin of Tours Catholic school in San Jose, and graduated from Saint Francis in Mountain View in 2003.
“We are grieving in solidarity for the senseless loss of such an intelligent, compassionate young woman, and her colleagues, who dedicated — and ultimately sacrificed — their lives to serve our veterans most in need of mental health support,” the school said in a statement. “Jennifer was an excellent student who will be remembered by her teachers and classmates for her gentle heart, curious mind and bright spirit.”
In the statement, Saint Francis officials declined further comment as they plan on “privately honoring the lives of Jennifer and her unborn child and providing support to Jennifer’s family and our alumni, students and parents who are all grieving at this time.

Gonzales went on to earn her doctoral degree from Palo Alto University, and worked for a private counseling service provider offering individual and family counseling to deputies with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
In the wake of her death, Gonzales was remembered by PsychArmor founder Marjorie Morrison as “a brilliant psychologist” who created coursework for the online nonprofit, aimed at helping college campuses successfully reintegrate veterans.
She performed the same kind of work at San Jose State University, helping run a program for student veterans at the downtown campus. Damian Bramlett, who co-managed the program with Gonzales, mourned her loss on a GoFundMe page set up to support her family.

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“Jenn was the type of good person this world needs, and we have all been robbed of her joy, compassion, and commitment to helping others,” Bramlett wrote. “I will miss her beyond measure.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Check back later for updates to this story.

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