Gunman kills three in Nevada pancake house shooting
CARSON CITY, Nev (Reuters) – A man with an assault rifle opened fire at a pancake house in Nevada’s capital on Tuesday, killing two National Guardsmen and a civilian woman and wounding eight others before killing himself, authorities said.
The gunman opened fire as a group of uniformed Nevada National Guard soldiers were eating breakfast at the Carson City IHOP pancake house. In addition to the Guardsmen who died, three of the wounded were Guard members, police and FBI said.
The gunman also shot dead a civilian woman who had been standing in the line of fire between him and the active duty soldiers, Carson City Sheriff Kenneth Furlong told reporters.
The shooting suspect, identified as Eduardo Sencion, 32, initially survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound but later died at an area hospital, police said.
Furlong said there was no sign that Sencion, a Mexican-born U.S. citizen, knew anyone at the restaurant, or that he had singled out members of the National Guard before he entered the IHOP.
Authorities said they had established no motive for the shooting rampage.
“There has been a suggestion by (Sencion’s) family members that there were some mental health issues that we will have to look into,” Furlong said.
He said later that the fact that five victims of the shooting were military is “cause for concern by us.” But an FBI supervisory special agent Mike West said investigators had “no indication of terrorism at this time.”
In addition to the weapon used in the shooting, described as a variant of an AK-47 assault rifle, Furlong said a second rifle and a pistol were found in the gunman’s vehicle.
Several of the wounded were undergoing surgery at two local hospitals, but details of their conditions were not immediately available. Furlong said three of those wounded did not appear to have sustained life-threatening injuries.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval issued a written statement to “assure all Nevadans and especially residents of Carson City that everything is being done to ensure the public’s safety.”
Sandoval ordered flags flown at half-staff until Friday at dusk in honor of the two National Guardsmen who were killed.
GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS LOCKED DOWN
The state capitol, legislature and Supreme Court buildings were locked down for about an hour shortly after the shooting as a precaution.
Sheriff’s Commander Jack Freer said officers responding to reports of a man with a gun at about 9 a.m. local time found victims shot in the parking lot of the restaurant. More victims were discovered inside, he said.
“The suspect was found down with a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Freer said.
Ralph Swagler, owner of the Locals Barbecue shop in the same strip mall as the IHOP, told the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper that he saw a man wearing a red shirt and black shorts pull up outside the IHOP in a blue minivan.
Swagler said the man, armed with a rifle, shot and killed a man on a motorcycle, then walked inside the IHOP and started shooting.
Swagler said the man spent several minutes there, then walked back outside into the parking lot and began firing into the Locals Barbecue and an H&R Block in the strip mall.
Fran Hunter, who works at Sierra Le Bone, a pet shop near the IHOP, was having breakfast at Casino Fandango across the street when the shooting occurred, and was so shaken she returned to her own business and locked the doors.
“I thought, if I don’t recognize anyone, I’m not opening the doors,” Hunter, 64, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “I can’t believe this is happening here … You read about this happening in big cities, but not in our little town.”
Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman, Dan Whitcomb and Timothy Pratt, Cynthia Johnston and Alex Dobuzinskis; Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman; Editing by Jerry Norton)
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