Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2014

Currently: 71° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

hard to believe something like this would happen’:

Sheriff: Gunman used AK-47 in Carson City IHOP shooting

Image

AP Photo/Cathleen Allison

Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011.

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 | 10:58 p.m.

Eduardo Sencion

Eduardo Sencion

Carson City IHOP shooting

Officials investigate the scene of a shooting in an IHOP restaurant in Carson City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011.  Launch slideshow »

Timeline of events

8:58.24 — Carson City Sheriff and Fire Communications received the first call (all 911 lines subsequently rang at full capacity)

8:58.58 — First sheriff’s units dispatched (34 seconds after first call received); request that all available units respond.

9:02:30 — Carson City Fire Department dispatches three initial units; advised to stage nearby for safety.

9:03:06 — Sheriff’s units arrive and secure scene.

9:04:35 — Carson City Fire Department requested at least two Care Flight medical helicopters.

9:06:05 — Sheriff’s officials allows CCFD to enter IHOP restaurant.

9:06.24 — Shooter down in parking lot next to blue van (later determined to be from a self-inflicted gunshot)

9:07:30 — First fire units on scene; advise of multiple victims.

9:07:48 — Fire department requested additional four to five ambulances.

9:08:28 — Fire department advised seven gunshot victims inside IHOP.

9:09:53 — All three Care Flight helicopters enroute (Reno, Gardnerville, Truckee)

9:10:39 — Fire department requests additional medical helicopter from CalStar in California.

9:28:46 — Dispatch notified that one helicopter had arrived, loaded and was heading back to Reno; second and third helicopter waiting to land; fourth helicopter canceled.

9:31:53 — First chaplain and psychologist en route.

9:52:35 — Seelinger Elementary School lockdown lifted.

10:59:09 — Phone numbers provided for victim information and family inquiries.

12:25:39 — Three patients transported by Care Flight; three patients transported by ground ambulance.

12:48:24 — IHOP president arrives at sheriff’s office; directed to scene.

Source: Nevada Department of Public Safety.

CARSON CITY — A gunman wielding an AK-47 opened fire on a table of uniformed National Guard members at an IHOP restaurant on Tuesday in an outburst of violence that killed four people, wounded eight others and put Nevada's capital city on high alert.

Five Nevada National Guard troops sitting together at the back of the restaurant were shot - two of them fatally. Another woman was also killed, and the gunman, 32-year-old Eduardo Sencion of Carson City, shot himself in the head and died at a hospital.

The shooter's motive was unclear, but family members said he had mental issues. He had never been in the military and had no known affiliation with anyone inside the restaurant.

Witnesses and authorities described a frantic scene in the bustling business district, in which the shooter pulled into the large complex of retail stores and shops just before 9 a.m. in a blue minivan with a yellow "Support Our Troops" sticker on the back. He got out and immediately shot a woman near a motorcycle, a witness said.

Ralph Swagler said he grabbed his own weapon, but said it was too late to stop the shooter, who charged into the IHOP through the front doors.

"I wish I had shot at him when 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 weapon."

The gunman went all the way to the back of the restaurant to the back area and opened fire, Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said.

When he left the restaurant, he stood in the parking lot and shot into the nearby businesses, shattering the windows of a barbecue restaurant and an H&R Block and a casino across the street.

Officers arrived minutes later and found the suspect and the person who was by the motorcycle wounded and lying in the parking lot. The names of the victims, including two male Guard members who were killed, were not immediately released.

Sencion left two more guns in the van - a rifle and a pistol, authorities said.

As the attack unfolded, Nevada officials 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," Furlong said. "At this point in time it appears to be isolated to this parking lot."

Reno-based FBI special agent Michael West said there was no indication of any terrorist plot.

As police interviewed dozens of witnesses after the shooting 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.

Sencion was born in Mexico and had a valid U.S. passport. In interviews with investigators after the shooting, his family raised concerns about his mental health, Furlong said. Sencion worked at his family's business in South Lake Tahoe and had no criminal history. The minivan he drove to the shooting was registered to his brother.

The shooting shocked some who knew him, including Joe Laub, his lawyer in a bankruptcy filing in January 2009, who called it an "aberration of his character."

"He's a gentle, kind man who was very helpful to friends and family," Laub told The Associated Press. "I couldn't venture to guess what would cause him to do something as horrible as this."

In the bankruptcy filing, Sencion listed more than $42,000 in outstanding debts for a car, several credit cards and some medical expenses. At the time, Sencion reported having $200 spread over three bank accounts and $923 in disability income, mostly from Social Security.

At a Reno hospital, service members 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. Two of the three wounded guard members were women. Authorities provided few details about the five other injured people, except to say one was a woman who was found near a motorcycle. Three of those wounded have minor wounds; the others were shot in critical areas of the body, Furlong said.

"You go a whole tour in Afghanistan and no one is shot. And you go to IHOP and several are shot," said 31-year-old Sgt. First Class Cameron Anderson of Reno, a Nevada Army National Guard member. "It's a shock. I came to work today and had no idea I'd be driving the chaplain here (to the hospital.)"

Another Guard member, 33-year-old Spc. Lee Amato, said he didn't know the victims' names but expected they were people he knew.

"It's hard to believe something like this would happen to really good people," Amato said. "It's like a hole, something taken away. It's mind-boggling and hard to comprehend."

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. Conway said she did not believe any of the Guard members at the restaurant were armed.

"Our guards would have no reason to be carrying military weapons here today," Conway said. "We have no reason to believe that any of them were armed with personal weapons."

Furlong says they're analyzing the shooter's 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've lived in Carson City since 1961 and I've never seen anything like this," said Fran Hunter, who works at the Sierra Le Bone pet shop just north of the IHOP. "This is the kind of thing that happens in New York City or L.A., not here."

Associated Press writers Michelle Rindels, Ken Ritter and Oskar Garcia in Las Vegas; Martin Griffith in Reno; and Scott Sonner in Carson City contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Yeah! More guns that's the answer.

  2. Schaffer, I agree completely with mikegino.

    This is a tragedy plain and simple.

  3. Bob, I don't think you understand Mark's comment

  4. Wow. I'm surprised no one blames this on Harry Reid, as they do most everything on the RJ site.

    This is a tragedy; it's plain dreadful. People lost their lives; and those wounded may still die.

    My heart and sympathies go out to them.

  5. Sen. Ben Kieckhefer tweeted: "My God be with the families of those hurt and killed...."

    Why wasn't your God with them before this happened? Is he chicken?

  6. A tragedy happens in Carson City, without any known motivation and few facts as of this time, and yet regular commenters here use it as an opportunity to grind their respective socio-political axes:

    Mark Schaffer: "Gun control!"
    Daniel Jackson: "Vegas sucks!"

    Tragic, on all counts.

  7. "Greatest city on the planet." I've lived many places, mostly large cities; in fact, probably in more than most here and I find Las Vegas quite a pleasant place to live. Every city has its own problems. And, I assume, everyone has their own idea of which city is the "greatest on the planet." Wherever I've lived, I've made a point to accept it for what it is and try to effect change where it might be needed.

  8. The liberals will yell,(Gun Control). I say, to bad someone in IHOP wasn't carrying. This tragedy could have been stopped or perhaps circumvented. I guess law abiding citizens, abiding the law, become easy targets.

  9. "Why wasn't your God with them before this happened?"

    SunJon -- excellent post

    "I guess law abiding citizens, abiding the law, become easy targets."

    Aaronboy -- another excellent point made.

    "Because there is no comparison whatsoever between an armed and a disarmed man; it is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe among armed servants." -- Niccolo Machiavelli 1513 "The Prince" Chapter IV

  10. It's already a crime to shoot someone, criminals by definition break the law.

  11. Thomas,
    Then all gun owners, by your logic, become criminals when they shoot someone. This:
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/201...
    is for the wanna be gunslingers posting here.

  12. When you go psychotic on antidepressants you don't care if you are not suppose to have guns or not, you just stockpile them because of the paranoia that develops. In fact AK47s are so common in these mass shootings, with an antidepressant behind nearly every case in the past two decades, that you begin to wonder if they hand out 1/2 price coupons on an AK47 with each antidepressant prescription!

    Mark my word, this case will prove no different than what you saw in Mesquite when the City Councilwoman who was running for mayor there shot her husband and herself in February trying to withdraw from the antidepressant she was given to stop smoking. If you want to see 1000's more documented cases like this go to a database by state by Googling SSRIstories.

    What they are doing is acting out nightmares. It is called a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and 86% of diagnosed cases are taking an antidepressant when they do this!

  13. mikegino - "Armed patrons inside the restaurant would have ended the mayhem."

    Complete nonsense! The Giffords shooting in Arizona came close to have a far worse drastic ending than it did. One of the bystanders carrying a weapon almost shot the people disarming the gunman.

    Just what they needed at the IHOP, bullets whizzing all over the restaurant.

  14. Everyone please calm down and enjoy the blessings of diversity and multiculturalism.

  15. Mark, did you really link to NY Times as a objective resource on gun control ? lmao.
    If the guy was psychotic, he should own guns. If the guns weren't his, the person giving him access needs to be held accountable. Sane people legally owning guns are really not the problem. Luckily the scumbag took himself out before killing even more people, but victimized citizens being able to defend themselves might have lessened the death toll.

  16. fact is we have crazy people in this world, there will always be someone out there. I doubt anybody with a c.c.w. would have been able have stopped this scumbag. just added to the body count. and i seriously doubt that more gun control laws would help ether. best wishes to the families of the victims.

  17. stephen I do not think military grade weaponry should be made available to the public. but I do think the public should be able to own reasonably, guns for self defense,hunting e.t.c. and you missed my point, we live in a imperfect world and there will always be some bitter angry nut job out there. and what do you do if you ever have to face one?

  18. Bobby,
    I linked to a reliable source of facts you can't contend with so in place of rational discussion you post a juvenile acronym. Either you have specific information that is credible that shows the article to be wrong or you are just another conservative long on cheap sarcasm and meaningless rhetoric. I'll go with the second option.