Guardsmen killed in NV served in Iraq, Afghanistan

By Sandra Chereb

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 7 2011 12:25 p.m. MDT

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong holds a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 updating details on yesterday's shooting spree at a Carson City, Nev. IHOP restaurant that left five dead and seven others wounded.

Cathleen Allison, Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Dozens of 911 calls made from in and around a Nevada IHOP detail a frantic scene as witnesses describe the shooter and dispatchers tried figure out if more than one person was involved in the rampage that killed four and wounded seven.

Callers describe victims gunned down inside the restaurant on tapes released Wednesday; the sheriff's office said those killed included two National Guard members who served overseas.

"In the IHOP! In the IHOP!" one caller said. "Now he's coming back out with a gun shooting people in the parking lot!"

The attack by lone gunman Eduardo Sencion, aka Eduardo Perez Gonzalez, left four dead and seven injured. Sencion also killed himself.

The dead included three Nevada National Guard members, identified Wednesday as: Sgt. 1st Class Christian Riege, 38, of Carson City; Major Heath Kelly, 35, of Reno; and Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31, of Reno.

Brig. Gen. William R. Burks described the three as dedicated service members who were active in their fields.

Kelly was a decorated officer and avid student of military history who was known for his dry sense of humor, Burks said at a news conference.

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.

Riege was a fitness buff, a father of three and had also been in the Navy. His military occupation was armor crewman, and he served in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010.

McElhiney was an administrative sergeant who had been with 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.

Burks said Guardsmen overseas are grieving the service members' loss, and were being told to maintain focus.

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

"This is unquestionably the most devastating attack in Carson City's history," Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said at a news conference Wednesday. "Yesterday our town was shocked to the core."

Just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, 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 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.

"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."

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.

Lawmakers, business owners and law enforcement officials in this close-knit, government-driven city of 50,000 struggled to understand what drove Sencion — aka Eduardo Perez Gonzalez — to turn an AK-47 assault rifle on his hometown.

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