Related Story: Gunman wearing body armour takes hostages at veterans' home in California

A gunman and three female hostages have been found dead after a stand-off at a veterans home in California.

The discovery brought an end to an eight-hour stand-off which began when the gunman, reportedly wearing body armour and carrying an automatic weapon, entered the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in the state's Napa Valley.

The women who were taken hostage were attending a going-away party for a staff member.

Law enforcement members stage near the veterans' home.

Authorities did not identify the gunman or his victims, but said the women were employees of The Pathway Home — a privately run program treating veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gunman exchanged gunfire with a deputy at the centre before taking the women hostage.

Police said they had been unable to make contact with the gunman before they entered the room where the hostages had been taken.

California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Chris Child said investigators had not determined a motive for the attack.

"It's far too early to say if they were chosen at random," Mr Childs said.

"This is a tragic piece of news, one we were really hoping we would not have to come before the public to give."

The Napa Valley Register reported that the gunman had been a member of The Pathway Home, but had been discharged two weeks ago.

Police are aware of the identity of the gunman but his name has not been released.

They also declined to identify the victims saying family members still needed to be notified.

Veterans of WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan live at the home, according to the facility's website.



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