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520 S 4th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
On September 6, 2011, Eduardo Sencion took 85 seconds to forever change Carson City,
Nevada. In that 85 seconds, Sencion took the lives of four people, including three members of
the National Guard. Years later, the aftermath of the senseless attack can still be felt as victim’s
memories live on. Despite an investigation and many questions, however, there remains no
answer to the question of why Sencion perpetrated this senseless act of violence.
The IHOP Shooting
At 8:58 AM, 32-year-old Sencion arrived at a strip mall in his brother ’s minivan. He got out of his
vehicle brandishing a Norinco Mak 90 semiautomatic rifle and he shot and wounded a woman
on a motorcycle in the parking lot. He proceeded into an IHOP restaurant, shooting at a group
of uniformed National Guardsman and hitting five of them. Three suffered fatal gunshot
wounds. Others in the restaurant were targeted as well, with a 67-year-old woman sustaining a
fatal gunshot wound. Sencion departed the IHOP, shooting into nearby businesses but
fortunately causing no further injury. When police arrived, Sencion shot himself in the head.
Lab tests, videos, and other pieces of evidence were reviewed by more than 140 law
enforcement officers and investigators to try to establish a timeline for the tragic events of the
day. The answer to why Sencion acted, however, went with him to his grave.
Sencion had been diagnosed at the age of 18 with paranoid schizophrenia. Voices in his head
were telling him to do bad things, but he took medication to control the condition. Toxicology test
would later reveal that he had none of the medication in his system on the day he opened fire in
the IHOP. Investigators were not certain if the man’s mental health issues had played a role in
causing him to perpetrate the most violent attack in the history of Carson City.
Sencion had also filed for bankruptcy in 2009, listing more than $42,000 in outstanding credit
card debt, car loan debt, and medical debt. However, it is not clear his financial problems
played any role in causing the shooting. He also had no known connection to the military or to
any terrorist groups. Despite intensive investigation, Sencion’s motive will never be known.
The Aftermath of the Shooting
In the aftermath of the shooting, first responders were encouraged to undergo grief counseling
as they had just witnessed the worst law enforcement disaster in local history. Residents were
frightened of the randomness of the attack, which occurred without warning or justification in a
local pancake restaurant. Residents established parking lot memorials and the shooting drew
national media attention. The Nevada Governor, as well as Nevada Senator’s and
Representatives also expressed their sympathy, and provided assurances that everything
possible was being done to ensure the safety of the public.
The victims are remembered and honored each year with an annual Remembrance Run, which
is a five-kilometer course stretching from the IHOP in Carson City where the shooting occurred
to the Office of the Adjutant General in the capital city. The route is the one the three
Guardsmen would have taken home from their Sept 6 meeting at the restaurant if their shooting
had never occurred.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval participated in the third annual memorial jog along with 30
other runners and walkers including the father of one of the guard soldiers killed in the shooting
rampage. The organizers of the event aim to perpetuate the memorial job and to expand it in
the future as a way to remember the victims who did not survive the tragic day.