911 tapes from Nevada IHOP shooting reveal frantic scene
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
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.
Second later Swagler said, “Now he’s coming back out. He’s shooting people in the parking lot! He’s shooting at us now!”
A female caller told the dispatcher to send “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 killed during a decade of war 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.
The fourth person killed was Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, of South Lake Tahoe. Donovan-Gunderson was married to a retired U.S. Marine Corp member.
Also Wednesday, a woman who was inside the IHOP when Sencion opened fire described the terrifying ordeal, which included rapid gunfire, screaming and shattered glass.
Kathy Chaney, 50, said she was sitting at a table with five relatives and a child she was caring for when she heard the “biggest and loudest pops that I’ve ever heard in my whole life.”
The Dayton, Nev., woman said she put her hands to her ears and got under the table as the gunman rapidly fired dozens of shots.
The bullets shattered a glass partition that separated her family from the group of Guard members who were shot. Chaney said if it hadn’t been for that partition, she and her relatives “would have all been shot in the head.”
“I heard screaming. I heard glass shattering. I heard a woman moaning, and when I was on the floor I just kind of looked up,” Chaney said. “...I just saw debris flying. It was almost like in slow motion — like confetti.”
Chaney said her daughter was three traffic lights away en route to the restaurant when the family escaped, called her and told her not to come.
“She would have been pulling up as he was exiting and I’m sure he would have shot at them,” Chaney said. “God really performed a miracle, and we definitely had angels watching out for us yesterday.”
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.