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Guardsmen run to honor IHOP shooting victims

Sep. 7, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Nevada Guard member Savannah McCarthy is comforted Sept. 6 after finshing an informal memorial run/walk to commemorate the victims of the International House of Pancakes shooting on Sept. 6, 2011.
Nevada Guard member Savannah McCarthy is comforted Sept. 6 after finshing an informal memorial run/walk to commemorate the victims of the International House of Pancakes shooting on Sept. 6, 2011. (Tom R. Smedes/Special to Reno Gazette Journal)
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CARSON CITY, NEV. — Members of the Nevada National Guard and others gathered in the pre-dawn chill Friday to remember the victims of the worst shooting in Carson City’s history.

They hugged, prayed and wept in the parking lot of the IHOP restaurant where three of their colleagues and another woman were gunned down while eating breakfast on Sept. 6, 2011.

Then they ran and walked 5 kilometers back to the National Guard headquarters.

Lt. Col. Heath Kelly, Master Sgt. Christian Riege, Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, and Florence Donovan-Gunderson were killed when Eduardo Sencion entered the restaurant with an assault rifle.

Others were injured before Sencion, a diagnosed schizophrenic, killed himself in the parking lot.

Guard Chaplain Todd Brown said Friday’s run symbolized returning the victims home to family and friends.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong, who was among the first to arrive at the scene, wiped away tears as he thought back to that terrible day.

“I don’t know if it gets any easier, I honest to God don’t,” he said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Mock, who was shot in the arm and survived, helped organize the run to remember the victims and kicked off the procession.

At the end of the run, Capt. Laura Boldry said the group achieved its goal.

“We brought their spirits back,” Boldry told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “My goal was to run their spirits back home because they never made it home that day. It’s a great way to celebrate and remember them.

“As a soldier we don’t leave anyone behind, and I want them to always know that they’re never forgotten, that we always think of them.”

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