Las Vegas Sun

October 16, 2018

Currently: 62° — Complete forecast

Breaking News: Today is final day to register in person to vote in Nevada midterm election

911 tapes from Carson City shooting reveal frantic scene


AP Photo/Cathleen Allison

Candles left after a vigil remain at the Nevada State Veterans’ Memorial in Carson City on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011. Four people were killed Tuesday, including three Nevada National Guard members, and seven other people were injured when a gunman opened fire with an AK-47 in an IHOP restaurant.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 | 4:20 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong holds a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 updating details on Tuesday's shooting spree at a Carson City IHOP restaurant.

Victims in IHOP shooting

This is an undated photo provided by the Carson City Sheriff's Office, of Major Heath Kelly. Kelly, 35, of Reno, Nev., was one of three National Guard members killed by a gunman during a shooting rampage at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City. Launch slideshow »
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 »

Shooting rampage in Carson City kills 4

A man shot and killed four people Tuesday in an IHOP restaurant in Carson City before turning the gun on himself.

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 -- Dozens of 911 calls made from in and around a Nevada IHOP where a deadly shooting rampage took place detail a frantic scene, as witnesses described the gunman and dispatchers tried to determine if more than one person was involved.

Callers described victims gunned down inside the Carson City restaurant on tapes released Wednesday.

"There's a shooting in the IHOP! Get there right now!" yelled caller Ralph Swagler, owner of Local's BBQ next door, as shots rang out in the background.

Second later, Swagler said: "Now he's coming back out. He's shooting people in the parking lot! He's shooting at us now!"

A female caller told the dispatcher to send several ambulances because there was a "guy shooting everyone."

Tuesday's attack by Eduardo Sencion, aka Eduardo Perez Gonzalez, left four dead and seven injured. Sencion, 32, also killed himself.

Officials released the victims' names Wednesday as the search for a motive - and a time of grieving - continued.

"This is unquestionably the most devastating attack in Carson City's history," Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said. "Yesterday our town was shocked to the core."

The dead included three Nevada National Guard members - the same number of Nevada Guardsmen killed during a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were Sgt. 1st Class Christian Riege, 38, of Carson City; Major Heath Kelly, 35, of Reno; and Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31, of Reno.

The fourth person killed was Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, of South Lake Tahoe. Donovan-Gunderson was married to a retired U.S. Marine Corp member.

Furlong said it remained unclear whether Sencion was targeting people in the military. But police in South Lake Tahoe, where Sencion worked, confirmed he had a previous run-in with the law involving his mental health.

Lt. David Stevenson said the department took Sencion into protective custody during a mental health commitment in April 2000. Sencion fought with officers during the incident but wasn't charged, Stevenson said.

The Lake Tahoe News first reported the incident.

Stevenson said officers have the authority under state law to take individuals into protective custody if they determine the person poses a danger to themselves or others.

He declined to release further details, citing the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

The rampage started just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, when Sencion stepped onto the pancake house parking lot from his blue minivan with a yellow "Support Our Troops" sticker on it.

He immediately shot a woman near a motorcycle before charging into the chain restaurant. Witnesses said he had unloaded a magazine when he was still less than 12 feet from his vehicle.

Inside the IHOP, Sencion marched toward a table of uniformed National Guard members before shooting each one, authorities said.

On the 911 tapes, callers describe seeing a man wearing a red shirt and black pants. Many are crying as dispatchers frantically try to gather information on where the shooter went.

A woman who was inside the IHOP described a terrifying ordeal that included rapid gunfire, screaming and shattered glass.

Kathy Chaney, 50, said she was sitting at a table with five relatives and a child she was caring for when she heard the "biggest and loudest pops that I've ever heard in my whole life."

The Dayton, Nev., woman said she put her hands to her ears and got under the table as the gunman rapidly fired dozens of shots.

The bullets shattered a glass partition that separated her family from the group of Guard members who were shot. Chaney said if it hadn't been for that partition, she and her relatives "would have all been shot in the head."

"I heard screaming. I heard glass shattering. I heard a woman moaning, and when I was on the floor I just kind of looked up," Chaney said Wednesday. "...I just saw debris flying. It was almost like in slow motion - like confetti."

She said that as she huddled beneath the table, three men who work for a cable company took charge and started yelling for those inside to leave the restaurant through an emergency exit.

She knocked over a high chair where the 2 1/2-year-old girl she was caring for was sitting, then carried her out of the restaurant while still crouching.

"As I was exiting the back of the building, I was still hearing gunfire," Chaney said.

Chaney said her daughter was three traffic lights away en route to the restaurant when the family escaped, called her and told her not to come.

"She would have been pulling up as he was exiting and I'm sure he would have shot at them," Chaney said. "God really performed a miracle, and we definitely had angels watching out for us yesterday."

Seven people were wounded in the attack. Their names were not released, but authorities said three of them were released from the Carson Tahoe hospital Wednesday.

The other four remained hospitalized, including one who was transferred to a medical center in Reno, Furlong said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Brig. Gen. William R. Burks described the slain Guard members as dedicated and active in their fields.

He said Kelly was a decorated officer and avid student of military history who was known for his dry sense of humor.

Kelly was married with two kids, and served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. He was deployed while on active duty with the Army, not as a member of the Nevada National Guard.

Kelly was a field artillery officer in the Army for seven years before joining the Guard about six years ago, according to the Nevada National Guard's quarterly magazine, Battle Born. The magazine said Kelly led about 140 soldiers at the Nevada National Guard's joint force headquarters in Carson City after being promoted to commander in August 2009.

Burks said Riege was a fitness buff and father of four who had also been in the Navy. Riege's military occupation was armor crewman, and he served in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

McElhiney was an administrative sergeant who had been in the Guard for 13 years. She served soldiers in the medical, dental and human resources fields.

McElhiney also had a side business making cakes and cupcakes and would always bring goodies when people got a promotion, officials said.

Burks said Guardsmen overseas are grieving the service members' loss, and were being told to maintain focus.

The shooting happened roughly two miles from the state Capitol. Lawmakers, business owners and law enforcement officials in this close-knit, government-driven city of 50,000 struggled to understand what drove Sencion to turn an AK-47 assault rifle on his hometown.

"It's unprecedented in Carson City history," said Guy Rocha, retired Nevada state archivist. "People who live in Carson City have come from other places to get away from the large urban madness. ... It finally came to Carson City.

Family members told investigators that Sencion was mentally troubled, but he did not have a criminal history. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital hours after the mass shooting.

Officials were analyzing the assault rifle to determine if it was automatic or semi-automatic. Sencion left two more guns in the van - another rifle and a pistol, authorities said. Furlong said law enforcement agencies are investigating how Sencion got the guns.

Sencion was born in Mexico and had a valid U.S. passport. He worked at his family's business in South Lake Tahoe and had no known affiliations with anyone inside the restaurant, Furlong said. He was not in the military.

Associated Press writers Michelle Rindels, Oskar Garcia, Ken Ritter and Cristina Silva in Las Vegas and Martin Griffith 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