At least five were killed, including the gunman and five others were wounded in Nevada when man armed with an AK-47 opened fire on a group of five uniformed National Guard members who were eating breakfast at an IHOP restaurant on Tuesday.
The gunman shot all the five Guard members, killing three of them, and killed another woman before taking his own life.
The gunman, who was later identified as Eduardo Sencion, 32, began shooting at around 9 a.m. as people flocked to the restaurant for breakfast.
The motive of the firing was not clear, the Carson City sheriff Ken Furlong, said. The relatives of the shooters indicated that he had a history of mental illness but Sencion had no records of criminal history.
Authorities said that Sencion didn't specifically target National Guard members as one of the victims was a civilian woman. Five of the 11 Guard members shot were in uniform, and the woman who died was caught in the line of fire between Sencion and the Guardsmen.
The fact that five of the 11 people shot were soldiers was a cause for concern, said Carson City Sheriff Kenneth Furlong.
“It appears as though his gunfire was primarily focused on those military members,” Sheriff Furlong told New York Times. “We do not know whether or not the gunman was aware that there were National Guardsmen in the restaurant, but it appears as though he did. He had to travel through the entire restaurant to get to the back where the Guardsmen were having breakfast.”
The shooting happened in a strip mall on U.S. 395, which is the main highway through Carson City, the capital of Nevada. Sencion drove into the parking lot around 9 a.m. in a blue minivan and shot a man on a motorcycle before going inside and shooting more people. Then he went back outside and fired into two other businesses in the strip mall: Locals Barbecue and an H&R Block branch.
Two Guardsmen and one woman were declared dead at the scene, while six others wounded were transported to nearby hospitals. The third Guardsmen died after surgery.
Sencion, a Carson City resident, after shooting himself was transported to nearby hospital, where he later died.
Our thoughts are with the victims and families of the senseless shooting at our restaurant in Carson City, NV. Details of this tragic situation are still unfolding and we are waiting to learn more. We have offered our assistance to federal and local law enforcement, and are grateful to the emergency responders assisting on the scene. We will keep you advised as we learn more, IHOP said in a statement.
Sencion while living in nearby Stateline filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
Ralph Swagler, the owner of a nearby barbecue restaurant, told The Associated Press that he saw the gunman pull up outside the restaurant, where he first shot a man on a motorcycle and then headed inside.
“I wish I had shot at him, but he was going in the IHOP,” Swagler said. “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.”
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has ordered flags to half-staff until Friday at dusk in honor of the National Guardsmen who were killed in the shootings.
Mayor Crowell and I wish to extend our sympathies to the victims of today's tragedy and their families, said Sandoval. The Mayor and I also want to assure all Nevadans and especially residents of Carson City that everything is being done to ensure the public's safety. All authorities on the local, state and federal level are cooperating effectively and appropriately.
Nevada has the fifth most gun deaths per capita in the U.S. The Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center that advocates for gun control, ranks it No. 18 out of the 50 states in enacting laws to prevent gun violence.