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911 tapes from Nev. IHOP shooting reveal frantic scene; callers crying, confused
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) ' 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.
"Now he's coming back out. He's shooting people in the parking lot! He's shooting at us now!"
A female caller instructed the dispatcher to bring "several" ambulances and said: "There's a guy shooting everyone!"
Tuesday's attack by lone gunman Eduardo Sencion, aka Eduardo Perez Gonzalez, left four dead and seven injured. Sencion 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 who have died while serving 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.
Also killed was Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, of South Lake Tahoe. Donovan-Gunderson was married to a retired U.S. Marine Corp member.
At a news conference Wednesday, Brig. Gen. William R. Burks described the slain National 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 three 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 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, and fatally wounding three of them, 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.
"In the IHOP! In the IHOP!" one caller yells. "Now he's coming back out with a gun shooting people in the parking lot!"
Seven people were wounded in the attack. Their names have not been released, but Furlong said Wednesday their injuries range from severe to extremely life-threatening.
"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."
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.
Furlong said Wednesday authorities were still trying to determine a motive and it remained unclear whether Sencion was targeting people in the military.
Family members told investigators that Sencion, 32, 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.
Sencion filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009, listing more than $42,000 in outstanding debts for a car, several credit cards and some medical expenses. The case was discharged four months later.
A lawyer representing some of Sencion's family members called the shooting an "aberration of his character."
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.