Carson City IHOP shooter was schizophrenic, relative told police
The man who opened fire last week at an IHOP in Nevada’s state capital, killing three National Guard members and an elderly woman, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a family member told authorities the day of the shooting.
Eduardo Sencion, 32, who also wounded several people before taking his own life, had been taking medication for his illness, the Nevada Appeal reported Wednesday.
Authorities in the sleepy northern Nevada city have been combing Sencion’s background to figure out why he stormed into the IHOP the morning of Sept. 6 with an assault rifle similar to an AK-47.
Three guardsmen died in the rampage -- Sgt. 1st Class Christian Riege, 38, who served in Afghanistan; Maj. Heath Kelly, 35, who served in Iraq, and Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31 -- as well as Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67.
After the shootings, authorities rushed to the address linked to the 2002 Chrysler minivan Sencion drove to the IHOP, “fearing there were more victims inside,” the Appeal newspaper said. They found Sencion's sister-in-law and two children unharmed, and she told them that Sencion had struggled with mental illness.
Then they went to Sencion’s parents’ home, where he had been living in recent months, and found more firearms and “boxes upon boxes” of ammunition suitable for an assault rifle, the paper said.
Sencion was described to the Associated Press as shy and friendly. He worked at his family’s market in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and had been on medication "for a long period of his life,” Sheriff Ken Furlong said.
In 2000, Sencion was taken into protective custody by local police as part of a mental health commitment, the AP reported. He’d also been hospitalized for psychological troubles as an adult.
--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Photo: Flowers, cards, flags and candles make up a makeshift memorial on Sept. 9 outside the IHOP restaurant in Carson City. Credit: Sandra Chereb/Associated Press