‘With Hope, Resolve and Strength’
With the anniversary approaching of the deadly shooting at the Carson City IHOP, city officials are planning a memorial to honor those killed and injured that day.
At the same time, the message will be to move forward “with hope, resolve and strength.”
“This is about us standing up as a community and saying we have the strength to overcome that evil,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong. “It’s about closure. I think a lot of people will understand that.”
The city was horror-struck Sept. 6, 2011, when Eduardo Sencion walked into the IHOP and opened fire with an AK47, killing four and injuring eight others before turning the gun on himself.
Three members of the National Guard were killed – 31-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney of Reno; 38-year-old Master Sgt. Christian Riege of Carson City; and 35-year-old Major Heath Kelly of Reno.
Florence Donovan-Gunderson, a 67-year-old resident of South Lake Tahoe, was with her husband, sitting near the Guard members, when she was shot. She later died at a hospital.
“It was sad. It was terrifying. It was horrifying,” Furlong said. “It was everything you could possibly imagine.”
The ceremony – With Hope, Resolve and Strength, Carson City Remembers – will be at 6 p.m. Friday in the Pony Express Pavilion of Mills Park.
“We will remember the adversity our community went through and show how we have come through that adversity and will continue to do so,” said Mayor Bob Crowell.
He said a tree will be planted in honor of those killed and injured, along with a monument erected in their honor.
Furlong said the victims will always be remembered, but officials have decided against an annual memorial as a means of “reliving” the event.
“We choose to put this behind us,” he said. “It’s important for the community to go on beyond these things. There has to be an end, a putting away.”
He said he hopes the memorial will help people find a sense of closure.
“It’s one of the steps where we acknowledge what happened, and we look to our own strength to overcome it,” he said. “You can’t erase that pain. But with time, it scars over the tears you’ve cried.”