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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, victim of California veterans home killing, had ties to Gonzaga University

UPDATED: Sat., March 10, 2018

Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, one of the three women killed Friday at a veterans home in Yountville, California, graduated from an overseas Gonzaga program in 2006, the university and family friends confirm.

Gonzales Shushereba, 32, attended the Gonzaga-in-Florence program in 2006, according to Mary Joan Hahn, director of community and public relations at Gonzaga University.

At the time, she was known by her maiden name, Gonzales.

During her time in the program, she studied language, history and contemporary culture, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also traveled widely in Eastern and Western Europe and North and East Africa during the program, including a trip up Mount Kilimanjaro.

She graduated from Palo Alto University with a doctorate in clinical psychology in 2013, according to her LinkedIn account.

Gonzales Shushereba also made several close friends during her time at Gonzaga, including Jessica Hertz. Jessica’s mother, Vicki Hertz, said her daughter had called from Erlangen, Germany, Saturday morning after learning the news.

Jessica “was totally distraught,” said Vicki Hertz, who met Gonzales Shushereba only a few times, including at her wedding in 2017. “Jennifer was so bright and caring.”

Gonzales Shushereba was seven months pregnant. She was married a year ago and was supposed to travel to Washington, D.C., with her husband this weekend to celebrate their one-year anniversary, said family friend Vasiti Ritova.

“Jennifer and her colleagues died doing the work they were so passionate about – helping those in critical need,” her husband, T.J. Shushereba, said in a statement.

Ritova, whose niece cares for Gonzales Shushereba’s grandmother, said she would spend time caring for her grandmother and would visit her every other week.

“She was always singing to her grandma, giving her baths. She was always coming to look after her grandma – so that is how we come to know this sweet lady,” she said.

Marjorie Morrison, who founded the nonprofit group PsychArmor, said in addition to working with vets with PTSD, Gonzales also focused on helping college campuses successfully reintegrate veterans.

Gonzales Shushereba partnered with PsychArmor to create the VA Campus Toolkit, which PsychArmor put online. Many colleges use it, she said.

“She was brilliant for being so young,” Morrison said. She added that PsychArmor partners take on these projects without pay, which “says a lot about someone’s character.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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