Ralph Swagler was in his family's barbecue restaurant in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday morning when he heard gunshots outside and saw a man armed with what authorities say was an AK-47 walk into a nearby IHOP restaurant.
"I had my pistol; [but] I wasn't going up against an automatic rifle," Swagler told the Reno Gazette Journal afterward. "I'm sorry. I wish I would have shot him in the back now as he was going toward IHOP, but I wasn't clear on the situation."
That's one detail in the Gazette Journal's account this morning of the deadly shooting spree that left four victims dead and seven others wounded. The lone suspect, identified as 32-year-old Eduardo Sencion, shot himself and died later.
So far, there's no answer to the always critical question: Why?
As Reno's KTVN-TV reports, "in all, five of the 11 victims were National Guard members who were seated at the back of the dining area where the shooting began."
But according to The Associated Press, "the shooter's motive was unclear, but family members said he had mental issues. He had never been in the military and had no known affiliation with anyone inside the restaurant."
One word that comes to mind after reading the Gazette Journal story is disbelief.
-- "The waitress was still standing at the table," said Ethlyn MacDonald, an IHOP customer, "when all of a sudden we heard loud pops. I thought, 'What's happening?' "
-- "This happens in Third World countries," said Swagler. "Not here."