CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A man with an AK-47 assault rifle shot
an entire group of five uniformed National Guard members eating
breakfast at a Nevada IHOP on Tuesday, killing two of them and
another person in a hail of gunfire.
The suspect, 32-year-old Eduardo Sencion of Carson City, also
shot himself and later died at a hospital. Seven people were
wounded in the attack at a strip mall near a casino and department
store in the state's capital.
The gunman's motive was unclear, but once inside the restaurant,
Sencion shot every uniformed servicemember. The two killed were
men; another woman was also shot and killed.
The owner of a nearby barbecue restaurant described a frantic
scene in which the gunman pulled up and immediately shot a man on a
motorcycle, then charged into the IHOP, where the Guard members
Ralph Swagler said he grabbed his own weapon, but said it was
too late to stop the shooter.
"I wish I had shot at him but he was going in the IHOP," said
Swagler, who owns Locals BBQ & Grill. "But when he came at me,
when somebody is pointing an automatic weapon at you - you can't
believe the firepower, the kind of rounds coming out of that
Nevada officials first worried about the violence being more
widespread. They locked down the state Capitol and Supreme Court
buildings for about 40 minutes, and put extra security in place at
state and military buildings in northern Nevada.
"There were concerns at the onset, so we took certain steps to
ensure we had the capability to embrace an even larger
circumstance," Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said. "At this
point in time it appears to be isolated to this parking lot."
Furlong said Sencion worked at a family business in South Lake
Tahoe, was not in the military, and had no known affiliations with
anyone inside the restaurant.
The IHOP is about four miles from the Guard's headquarters
complex. Nevada National Guard spokeswoman April Conway said she
didn't know why the five Guard members had met at the IHOP.
At a Reno hospital, servicemembers gathered, waiting for word on
those killed and hurt. A hospital spokesman said four shooting
victims were being treated there, but wouldn't discuss their
conditions or provide any other information.
"It's hard to believe something like this would happen to
really good people," said Spc. Lee Amato, 33, a Nevada Army
National Guard member. Amato said he didn't know their names, but
expected he would know them. "It's like a hole, something taken
away. It's mind-boggling and hard to comprehend."
At the scene of the attack, police interviewed dozens of
witnesses and kept the gathering crowd of media at bay. A body lay
on the ground, covered with a white sheet except for the feet, clad
in tan boots.
The gunman pulled up to the IHOP in a blue minivan around 9 a.m.
in a minivan registered to his brother, Furlong said. Witnesses
said he unloaded a clip before he got even 12 feet from his car.
Fran Hunter, a regular customer at that IHOP, decided to eat
breakfast across the street at a coffee shop inside the Casino
"If you know the IHOP, they had to be sitting ducks with that
long narrow aisle - if they were at those tables with no way to get
out," said Hunter, who works at a pet supply store in the strip
"Those people never stood a chance," Hunter told The
Once he exited the restaurant, Furlong said the gunman got into
a vehicle and drove around in circles. He fired shots toward the
barbecue restaurant, shattering the windows, and at an H&R Block
and a casino across the street.
Officers responded to calls reporting the gunfire within
minutes, Furlong said. The suspect was wounded and lying in the
parking lot when they arrived at the scene, he said.
The person who was shot on the motorcycle also was alive when
officers arrived, and was transported to a hospital.
Furlong says they're analyzing the weapon to determine whether
it is automatic or semi-automatic.
Nevada's capital city of some 50,000 is normally a sleepy town
when lawmakers are not in session, a jumping off point 30 miles
south of Reno for travelers headed to Lake Tahoe or back to
California across the Sierra.
"I don't know what's happening to my city," Fran Hunter, who
works at the Sierra Le Bone pet shop just north of the IHOP, told
the Reno Gazette-Journal. "This happens in L.A. or Las Vegas but
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)