Tuesday morning at around 9:00 AM local time, a man named Eduardo Sencion pulled up at an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada, with an AK-47. He shot a woman in the parking lot, then rushed into the restaurant and opened fire on a group of five National Guard troops dining at a table in the back. Three of them were killed, with the third succumbing to his injuries this morning. Seven other people were wounded.
After concluding his murderous business, Sencion went outside, and shot up three local businesses – a barbecue restaurant, an H&R Block office, and a casino – before turning his weapon on himself. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, he was still breathing when the police found him, but died at the hospital.
The Gazette-Journal obtained some chilling eyewitness testimony of Sencion’s rampage:
Inside the IHOP, Ethlyn MacDonald and her husband, Howard, had just ordered breakfast. The Azusa, Calif., couple had come to Carson City last week to visit their children and grandchildren, and they always ate at IHOP before heading home.
“The waitress was still standing at the table, “ Ethlyn MacDonald said, “when all of a sudden we heard loud pops. I thought, ‘What’s happening?’”
The MacDonalds, their daughter Kathy Chaney, Chaney’s daughter Rachel, Rachel’s two young children and another toddler sat in one of the restaurant’s back rooms near a big window that opened to the front tables.
Ethlyn’s back was to the window when Sencion walked into the restaurant. She heard glass breaking. A bullet shot by. She smelled the gunpowder. Someone yelled “Get under the table.”
“I felt like it was so close,” she said. “I started praying. I thought he was going to shoot us in the back. I thought I was going to die.”
Kathy Chaney of Dayton was sitting next to a 2 1/2-year-old girl she cares for when heard the shots. Chaney hit the floor, but the child sat in a high chair. Not wanting to stand up, Chaney knocked over the high chair so the girl could be on the floor with her.
“There was debris floating through the air from where the bullets were hitting,” she said.
The owner of the barbecue joint across the street had a pistol, but wisely chose not to match firepower at that range against an AK-47:
“I had my pistol; I wasn’t going up against an automatic rifle,” Ralph Swagler said. “I’m sorry. I wish I would have shot him in the back now as he was going toward IHOP, but I wasn’t clear on the situation.”
Fox News quotes Swagler as adding, “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.”
Sencion drove to the scene of the attack in his brother’s minivan, which had a “Support Our Troops” bumper sticker. Another rifle and a pistol were found inside the van.
Fox News reports the Nevada authorities took prudent precautions against a wider terrorist attack, but it now appears Sencion acted alone:
As the attack unfolded, Nevada officials worried about the violence being more widespread. They locked down the state Capitol and Supreme Court buildings for about 40 minutes, and put extra security in place at state and military buildings in northern Nevada.
“There were concerns at the onset, so we took certain steps to ensure we had the capability to embrace an even larger circumstance,” Furlong said. “At this point in time it appears to be isolated to this parking lot.”
Reno-based FBI Special Agent Michael West said there was no indication of any terrorist plot.
Sencion’s motivations are a matter of much conjecture. It’s not entirely clear if he deliberately targeted the National Guard troops, or if their uniforms caught his eye when he stormed into the IHOP. Fox News sums up his background as follows:
Sencion was born in Mexico and had a valid U.S. passport. In interviews with investigators after the shooting, his family raised concerns about his mental health, Furlong said. Sencion worked at his family’s business in South Lake Tahoe and had no criminal history. The minivan he drove to the shooting was registered to his brother.
The shooting shocked some who knew him, including Joe Laub, his lawyer in a 2009 bankruptcy filing, who called it an “aberration of his character.”
“He’s a gentle, kind man who was very helpful to friends and family,” Laub told The Associated Press. “I couldn’t venture to guess what would cause him to do something as horrible as this.”
The Reno Gazette-Journal adds that “he had been issued a Nevada commercial driver’s license 14 months ago, but he held a Nevada state identification card since 1998.” He apparently never served in the military.
Various media sources have quoted various members of Sancion’s family saying he either did, or did not, have mental and emotional issues. It has been speculated that he was driven over the edge by continuing financial problems after his bankruptcy filing, where he listed “more than $42,000 in outstanding debts for a car, several credit cards, and some medical expenses” but only “$200 spread across three bank accounts and $923 in disability income, mostly from Social Security,” according to the Associated Press.
Eduardo Sencion was 32 years old. What “disability” was he collecting Social Security income for – at the same time he was working for his family restaurant? That’s a curious detail I haven’t seen followed up in the media yet. Also, why did he drive to Carson City to shoot up an IHOP located near the Nevada National Guard headquarters? That’s about an hour’s drive from South Lake Tahoe, where Sencion’s family business is located.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Eduardo Sencion is listed as “the registered agent” for the family company, Mi Pueblo Markets LLC. When they tried to contact the company after the shootings, this happened:
In an initial phone call by the Reno Gazette-Journal to the Lake Tahoe Mi Pueblo Market on Tuesday, a man claiming to be Eduardo Sencion answered the phone and said he didn’t know anything about a shooting and wasn’t aware of anyone having the same name.
But in a follow-up call after a reporter verified Eduardo Sencion’s address and employer, the man at the Tahoe market identified himself as Gilberto Sencion Gonzalez, 46. He said he was Eduardo Sencion’s elder brother and admitted knowing about the shootings.
Gilberto Sencion said he arrived in South Lake Tahoe from Sacramento on Tuesday afternoon to find the Mi Pueblo Market closed. He said he had just found out about his relative’s rampage.
“I feel very sorry about what happened,” he said. “I feel very sorry about those people. I’m trying to find out what happened. How would you feel if your mom or your dad did this thing?”
Gilberto Sencion said he expected more media calls.
“You guys (the media) are going to make a lot of money from this,” he said. “In order for me to give you more information, you will have to pay me a lot of money, too.”
He declined to say anything further.
That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? This guy gets a phone call from a big regional paper shortly after his younger brother goes on a killing spree, and initially tries identifying himself as his dead brother, only latter admitting his true identity… before demanding the paper pay him for further information?
I suspect a few twists in the Eduardo Sencion story still lie ahead. In the meantime, I offer my prayers for the slain, and my deepest condolences for their families.
Update: I had an uneasy suspicion about the weapons used by Sencion, but couldn’t find the information needed to back it up. Confederate Yankee seems to have found it, and drawn the same conclusion I was afraid of:
Don’t expect the network news or cable television pundits make the connection, but the two AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles recovered from the scene of the IHOP massacre in Carson City, NV yesterday are the same weapons that Eric Holder’s Justice Department and Janet Reno’s Department of Homeland Security allowed to be smuggled into Mexico by the thousands.
The bloodbath that had the local sheriff making comparisons to 9/11 is what happens in Mexico every single day, thanks to your government’s criminal actions, actions that they are still desperately trying to cover-up.
The rifle used in the shooting was manufactured by Norinco and has not been imported into the United States since the early 1990s, but they are still commonly found on the market.
The Romarm Cugir found in his vehicle is the most popular weapon smuggled to the Sinaloa cartel under the protection of the federal law enforcement agencies involved in Operation Fast and Furious, and is commonly imported as the Century Arms WASR-10.
We do not know why Eduardo Sencion went on his rampage. All we know is that he had a history of mental illness, and was armed with the same weapons our government purposefully sent by the trunkload to murdering narco-terrorists.
I can’t imagine it will take very long to run the serial numbers on those rifles, and compare them with the records from Operation Fast and Furious. If they match up, this story is going nuclear.