Investigators looking into the shooting rampage at a Carson City, Nev., IHOP restaurant today that left four dead, including the shooter, and eight wounded are trying to determine whether the man targeted a group of National Guard personnel in the restaurant, police said.
Of the 12 people shot in the rampage, five were National Guard members who were sitting together, all in uniform, in the back of the restaurant. Two of the service members -- a man and a woman -- died, police said.
Because of where the Guard members were sitting and the fact they were in uniform, investigators say it appears the shooter -- Eduardo Sencion, 33, a Carson City resident who worked in nearby Tahoe and had no criminal history -- could have targeted them, Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said this evening.
"Information suggests at this point in time that the National Guard members were sitting all the way into the restaurant along the southeast side and that he entered through the front doors and traveled all the way through the restaurant to the back area," Furlong said.
"Obviously when five out of 11 of the victims are uniformed National Guard members, that's taking a priority interest in our agency," he said.
Investigators are still trying to determine what motive there might have been for the shooting rampage, the sheriff said.
"There has been some suggestion by his family members that there is some mental health issues that we are going to have to look into," he said.
Sencion allegedly walked into the restaurant shortly before 9 a.m. brandishing an AK47 and started shooting, then ended it by shooting himself in the head, police said. He was taken to a hospital where he died three hours later.
Carson City Chief Deputy Jack Freer said that the people wounded at the IHOP were taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and a hospital in Carson City. He said their conditions were unknown.
Witnesses described a scene of horror and chaos after Sencion pulled up at the IHOP in a blue minivan just before 9 a.m. and ran into the restaurant, already firing his assault weapon.
"All I heard was about a heavy eight seconds of automatic gunfire," said Nick Teply, who was at the McDonald's drive-through next door. "I just froze trying to identify which direction it was coming from.
"I saw people running into the casino and I saw people panicked so I panicked," he said. "I heard another burst go off and then I was, it was, 'get the hell out of there.'"
At least 11 agencies, both federal and state, worked the crime scene, the sheriff said.