IHOP gunman dead after killing 3, wounding 6

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SANDRA CHEREB, Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A man with a rifle opened fire Tuesday at an IHOP restaurant in Nevada’s capital, killing two National Guard members, another person and himself in a hail of gunfire during the morning breakfast hour, authorities and witnesses said.

Six people were wounded in the attack. The suspect, who hasn’t been identified, apparently acted alone, officials said. He died at a Reno hospital.

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Authorities weren’t saying whether the attack targeted the Guard members, who were meeting at the restaurant in a strip mall on Carson City’s main street. But they believe it was an isolated incident.

Both Guard members killed were in uniform. One was a man; the other a woman, authorities said.

Witnesses said the gunman pulled up in a blue minivan around 9 a.m. and shot a man on a motorcycle, then walked inside the restaurant and started shooting. He then walked back outside and fired shots toward a barbecue restaurant and an H&R Block in the strip mall, and toward a casino across the street.

“I don’t know what’s happening to my city,” Fran Hunter, who works at the Sierra Le Bone pet shop just north of the IHOP, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “This happens in L.A. or Las Vegas but not here.”

Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said officers received a call about the gunfire and responded within minutes. He said the suspect was wounded and lying in the parking lot when they arrived at the scene.

Furlong added the person who was shot on the motorcycle also was alive when officers arrived, and was transported to a hospital.

The state Capitol and Supreme Court buildings were locked down for about 40 minutes, and extra security measures were put in place at state and military buildings in northern Nevada following the shooting.

“There were concerns at the onset, so we took certain steps to ensure we had the capability to embrace an even larger circumstance,” Furlong said. “At this point in time it appears to be isolated to this parking lot.”

Local and state police and FBI agents descended on the scene, and yellow police tape surrounded the parking lot at the restaurant, which is near a Kohl’s department store. A body lay on the ground at the scene, covered with a white sheet except for the feet, which were in tan boots.

“As you know when you have people in uniform who are randomly targeted for whatever reason this may have been, it is a safety precaution we take very seriously,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen said.

Renown Regional Medicare Center spokesman Dan Davis told The Associated Press four of the shooting victims were being treated at the hospital in Reno, but he said he could not discuss their condition or provide any other information.

Care Flight spokesman Kurt Althof told the Gazette-Journal that three victims had been taken to Renown by helicopter and two were in critical condition.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who is scheduled to speak in North Las Vegas on Tuesday, expressed sorrow over the shooting.

“I am deeply saddened by the senseless violence today in Carson City,” Romney said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

Other lawmakers who offered condolences to the victims’ families included Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev.; and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.