A gunman opened fire on a group of national guardsmen having breakfast at a Nevada restaurant on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding eight others before turning the gun on himself.
LOS ANGELES –
Witnesses called the emergency services shortly after 9 am (1600 GMT) when they saw a man in the parking lot of the International House of Pancakes restaurant in Carson City shooting with an automatic weapon.
The shooter, named as Eduardo Sencion, used an AK-47 assault rifle in the attack, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Officials did not say if they believed the guardsmen had been targeted and no motive was put forward.
"Many of the victims were National Guard persons at the restaurant at the time in uniform," Sheriff Ken Furlong said.
A sheriff's office spokesman, Jack Freer, told AFP three people were killed, including two national guardsmen and a female civilian. Of the eight others injured, three were national guard members, he said.
The shooter initially survived, but died later of his wounds, said Freer. He was identified as Sencion, a 32-year-old Carson City resident with no criminal history according to police records.
Speaking to reporters at the scene, Furlong said the gunman had shot himself by the time officers arrived. "The suspect... already had self-inflicted wounds and was lying in the parking lot," he said.
Sencion had spent the night in Carson City after returning from South Lake Tahoe, where he works. His family reported nothing unusual about him Monday night, but said he might have mental health issues, local media reported.
Fran Hunter, who was having breakfast at the nearby Casino Fandango, said the gunman came out of the restaurant and shot out the windows of another nearby eatery.
"I was standing in front of Fandango, and somebody said, 'Oh he shot himself'," she said, cited by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
In Washington, the Pentagon blasted the shooting. "The senseless loss of life is a tragedy whenever and wherever it happens," said Department of Defense spokesman George Little.
An official in the sheriff's office declined to comment on whether the gunman had specifically chosen to target military personnel. "The sheriff may never know the motive," he said.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the top Senate Democrat in Washington, voicedd sorrow at the shooting.
"According to early reports, three people are now dead and six others have been wounded by a single gunman," Reid said.
"I'm disturbed to hear that two of the victims were serving this nation proudly as part of the Nevada national guard," he said, adding that Carson City, the state capital, was a "peaceful, quiet place."
"To have something like this happen is just very, very difficult to accept," he said.
The restaurant chain also voiced shock. "Our thoughts are with the victims and families of the senseless shooting," it said in a statement. "Details of this tragic situation are still unfolding and we are waiting to learn more."
The United States, where many states have liberal gun ownership laws, is prone to mass shootings, a fact highlighted by two other incidents.
Just hours before the Nevada rampage, a man in Morgantown, West Virginia, shot and killed five people before fleeing to nearby Pennsylvania and then Kentucky where he killed himself when confronted by police.
The shooter, identified as Shayne Riggleman, 22 years old of Morgantown, was described as an acquaintance of the victims whom he murdered apparently with a high-powered rifle, WBOY television reported.
Meanwhile, in Warren County outside New York, the Sheriff's Office told of "an apparent double murder suicide" late Monday, in which a father was believed to have shot dead his two daughters then turned the gun on himself.