- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) | Residents of Nevada’s capital city say they woke up Wednesday to a small town that’s lost its innocence after a mass shooting in an IHOP restaurant that left four people and the shooter dead and seven others injured.

Just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Eduardo Sencion stepped onto the Carson City pancake house parking lot from his blue minivan with a yellow “Support Our Troops” sticker on it.

He opened fire, then continued into the restaurant and marched toward a table of uniformed National Guard members and shot each one, killing three, authorities said.

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

“Our hearts ache for all the victims of this senseless act of violence,” IHOP Restaurants President Jean Birch wrote on Facebook after coming to town in the aftermath of the breakfast-time massacre. “The people of Carson City have also shown incredible support for the victims and IHOP’s team members.”

Killed were Sgt. 1st Class Christian Riege, 38, of Carson City, a fitness buff and father of three who served in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010; Maj. Heath Kelly, 35, of Reno, an avid student of military history who served in Iraq in from 2004 to 2005; and Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31, who specialized in medicine and dentistry and loved bringing cupcakes to her co-workers.

Also killed was Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, of South Lake Tahoe.

Brig. Gen. William R. Burks says Guardsmen overseas are being told to maintain focus as they grieve the loss of the service members.

Seven people were wounded in the attack; their injuries range from severe to extremely life-threatening.

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

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.”

Authorities are investigating whether the military members were targeted. Sheriff Furlong said Wednesday that it’s still not clear whether Sencion was targeting people in the military.

Sencion shot each of the five Nevada National Guard members sitting together at the back of the restaurant.

Family members told investigators that Sencion, 32, was mentally troubled, but he did not have a criminal history. He was pronounced dead at a hospital hours after the mass shooting.

“The sheriff may never know the motive,” Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen said.

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