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Gunman kills three in US guardsmen shooting

A gunman opened fire on a group of National Guardsmen having breakfast at a Nevada restaurant, killing three people and wounding eight others before turning the gun on himself.

The shooter, named as 32-year-old Eduardo Sencion, used an AK-47 assault rifle in the early morning attack at a restaurant in Carson City, in which two Guardsmen were among the dead and three injured.

“This is a real tragic event,” Sheriff Ken Furlong said in a late afternoon briefing, adding: “Many of the victims were National Guard persons at the restaurant at the time in uniform.”

Witnesses called the emergency services shortly after 9:00 am (1600 GMT) when they saw a man in the parking lot of the International House of Pancakes, a chain restaurant.

A sheriff’s office spokesman, Jack Freer, told AFP three people were killed — two National Guardsmen and a female civilian. Of the eight others injured, three were National Guard members, he said.

The five National Guard members — two women and three men — were having an informal meeting when Sencion came in and fired on their table, Furlong said.

The shooter initially survived, but died later of his wounds. The Mexican-born Carson City resident had a US passport and no criminal history, according to police records.

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.

As well as the AK-47 he used in the attack, two other firearms were found at the scene, but had not been used, the sheriff said.

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 lamented 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, voiced sorrow at the shooting, 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 22-year-old Shayne Riggleman 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 and then turned the gun on himself.

Less than a month ago, a gunman shot dead seven people, including three children, in a small town in Ohio before being killed in a shootout with police.

Filed in: World News

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