CARSON CITY, Nev. – 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 as the shooter unloaded his assault rifle in a bustling business district.
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.
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.
Witnesses and authorities described a frantic scene 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 by a motorcycle, a witness said.
Ralph Swagler said he grabbed his own weapon but that 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, 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.
Reno-based FBI special agent Michael West said there was no indication of any terrorist plot.