Diners recall ‘this evil thing’ in Carson City shooting

CARSON CITY — Men, women and children dived for cover as the gunman sprayed bullets across the restaurant, leaving a toddler in a high chair exposed.

That’s how witnesses to Tuesday’s shooting rampage described the scene inside the crowded IHOP restaurant where three Nevada National Guard soldiers and a California woman were killed by a mentally ill man wielding an assault rifle. Another seven people were wounded.

Civilian heroes were born in those moments, even as three military heroes died.

Kathy Chaney, 50, of Dayton was inside the restaurant with her two grandchildren, a toddler she was caring for, her parents and daughter-in-law when the shooting started. Everyone dived to the floor except the toddler. Chaney took quick action.

"She had to just knock her high chair over," said Chaney’s mother, Ethlyn MacDonald, 78.

The family members credited a group of men meeting at another table with leading them to safety.

Kevin Carrick, 52, of Carson City urged them to crawl to safety out a back door while shots rang out.

"My brain would not comprehend the fact somebody would do this evil thing," Carrick said of the first few seconds after the gunman, 32-year-old Eduardo Sencion, rattled off about five rounds from a rifle that police said was a variant of an AK-47 assault weapon.

He said shots sprayed glass over the dining area and bullets hit the walls, with one bullet fragment landing harmlessly on his shoulder. Another landed on the table in front of them.

Carrick, a former Air Force paramedic, said he told the panicked family to get down and crawl to safety.

"I didn’t freak out. I’m shocked," said Carrick, a cable company salesman who was meeting with business associates. "I stopped and I said, ‘Get out.’ "

He credited Larry Sowell, another man at the table, with opening the exit door.

Carrick said he regrets that he didn’t have a weapon of his own. He plans to get one.

"I will never go anywhere else without it," he said.

During a Wednesday news conference in the same room where hours earlier authorities interviewed the witnesses, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong identified the dead and provided new details about the shooting about two miles south of Nevada’s Capitol.

"This is unquestionably the most devastating attack on our community in Carson City history," Furlong said.

The victims included five members of the Nevada National Guard, three of whom were killed, and six civilians, one of whom died.

Killed were Sgt. 1st Class Christian David Riege, 38, of Carson City; Maj. Heath Kelly, 35, of Reno; Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31, of Reno; and Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Three people who suffered minor wounds have been released from Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. Four with more serious wounds remain hospitalized at Renown Medical Center in Reno. None of their names was released.

Furlong said that shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sencion, a local resident, arrived at the restaurant in a blue minivan and fired a number of shots, wounding one person.

He said Sencion, who was born in Mexico but who has been a U.S. citizen for "quite some time," then entered the restaurant and walked to the middle of the dining area. He began firing at patrons, striking 10 more people, including five members of the Army National Guard. The soldiers were having a breakfast meeting at a table in a back room of the restaurant.

Nevada Guard spokeswoman April Conway said the Joint Force Headquarters staff occasionally had breakfast meetings at the IHOP.

Sencion later went outside and turned the rifle on himself, dying two hours later at a hospital.

He had no prior criminal history. His family told authorities he had a history of mental illness, which Furlong said Tuesday night would have prohibited him from owning the two assault rifles and pistol he brought to the crime scene.

State and federal laws prohibit people who have been "adjudicated as mentally ill" or "committed to any mental facility" from owning or possessing firearms, according to the Nevada attorney general’s office.

Joe Laub, the Sencion family attorney who represented Sencion in a 2009 bankruptcy case, said Sencion had been diagnosed in 2000 with some type of mental illness. He could not confirm a report it was schizophrenia.

Furlong said the sheriff’s office has information that suggests Sencion had been previously committed to a mental institution.

Laub said he understood that Sencion had been taking medication for a mental disorder. He said he last saw Sencion about a year ago when he brought some family friends to his office seeking legal guidance.

"He did not show any violent tendency. He was very gentle and kind and very friendly and concerned about the well-being of his friends and family. It was quite an aberration of his personality to commit this very heinous crime," Laub said.

Sencion had a run-in with South Lake Tahoe police involving his mental health and was taken into custody but not charged, a police lieutenant told The Associated Press.

Laub said the family told him that Sencion made "zero comments about him being negative of the military."

"I don’t believe he had any connection to the military or tried to join the military."

Furlong said investigators were checking whether he might have been rejected from enlisting in the military.

Witnesses reported Sencion said something before he started shooting, but authorities didn’t say what.

"There were some statements uttered out," Furlong said. "Those witnesses that relayed that info to us. They were very severely traumatized by it.

"There were many acts of heroism from many persons," Furlong said.

Furlong ended Wednesday’s news conference comparing the Carson City shooting to the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying "Carson City was not unlike 9/11."

"We are a resilient society," he said. "We rebuild. We don’t forget. I hope we never forget.

"People suffered yesterday in much the same we did in 9/11. … The entire nation has been affected by what happened here. I hope we never forget about our veterans."

Brig. Gen. William Burks, commander of the Nevada National Guard, called the shooting devastating.

"In a few short hours we lost the same number of soldiers we lost in the entirety of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom," Burks said.

Conway, the Guard spokeswoman, said in the Guard family, "there is no difference" whether a citizen-soldier dies from violence at home or in a war zone.

"For us, a member of our family has passed away. The circumstances are immaterial."

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@ reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308.

Paris Wade discusses about his “Liberty Writers” website
Paris Wade, who made national headlines for operating a fake news website and boasts about getting President Donald Trump elected in 2016, speaks during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Wade is running for Nevada Assembly. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers.
Las Vegas Metro police and Henderson police officers ride their bikes during the Vegas Team's last practice rides in preparation for the Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal @bizutesfaye
UNLV students walk out of class on national walkout day
UNLV students and supporters chanted, marched and rallied on national walkout day Friday, April 20 on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Captain Sasha Larkin Discusses Challenges, Progress in North West
Captain Sasha Larkin, of Metro's Northwest Area Command, discusses what issues face the northwest valley's residents and what police are doing to address them.
Southwest giving passengers on deadly flight $5,000 for compensation
Passengers on Flight 1380 have been receiving checks as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge The President took to Twitter to criticize the former FBI director as information emerges from Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’. According to 'The New York Times', Comey describes Trump in the book as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, via The New York Times A Higher Loyalty hits stores on April 17.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
Endangered Devils Hole Pupfish numbers enough for concern, but not panic
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Death Valley National Park came together at Devils Hole, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas, for a biannual count of the Devils Hole Pupfish, an endangered species. Their count this time – 87. (Video by Patrick Connolly)
Hickey Elementary Students Put Harry Potter on Trial
Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School students learned how the judicial system works by putting Harry Potter on trial for the illegal use of magic.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
The Clark County Museum Turns 50 This Month
The Clark County Museum has an extensive collection, dating back to prehistoric times in Southern Nevada up through the present day. It was first established in April 1968 and has had several locations before it's current home on South Boulder Highway.
Route 91 Artifacts Will Be On Display This October
Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton explains what artifacts will be on display in October as part of the museums Route 91 shooting memorial exhibit called "How We Mourned."
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like