Luby's shooting

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Luby's Mass Shooting
Location Killeen, Texas, United States
Date October 16, 1991
12:39 p.m.–12:51 p.m.[1]
Attack type
Mass shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide
Weapons Glock 17, Ruger P89
Deaths 24 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
20
Perpetrator George Hennard

The Luby's shooting was a mass shooting that took place on October 16, 1991, at a restaurant in Killeen, Texas. George Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the front plate glass window of the Luby's Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway, shot 43 people, exchanged shots with responding police, and then hid in a bathroom and fatally shot himself.[2]

It was the deadliest shooting rampage in American history until the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, and is now the third deadliest mass shooting behind the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It remains the deadliest non-school shooting rampage in America.

Incident[edit]

On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Pierre "Jo Jo" Hennard, an unemployed merchant mariner or able seaman who was described by others as angry and withdrawn, with a dislike of women, drove his blue 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby's Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. Yelling "This is what Bell County did to me! This is payback day!", Hennard then opened fire on its patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and, later, a Ruger P89. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people, ten of them with single shots to the head,[3] and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. Approximately 140 people were in the restaurant at the time.

The first victim was local veterinarian Michael Griffith, 48, who ran to the driver's side of the pickup truck to offer assistance to the driver after the truck crashed through the window. Hennard also approached 32-year-old Suzanna Hupp and her parents. Hupp reached for her .38 revolver in her purse, only to remember she had left it in her vehicle to comply with the law. Texas law at the time required that concealed carry was not allowed in "public places". Her father Al, 71, rushed at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him but was fatally shot in the chest. A short time later, as Hupp was escaping, her mother Ursula, 67, was shot in the head and killed as she cradled her wounded husband.

During the incident, Hennard allowed a woman and her four-year-old child to leave. Another patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window, sustaining injuries, but by doing so he created an escape route for himself and other customers.

Hennard reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining, trading fire with and being wounded by a responding police officer. The incident ended when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.[4][5][6]

Possible motives[edit]

An intense hostility toward women was one possible motive that police investigated. People who survived said Hennard passed over men to shoot women. Fourteen of the 23 people killed were women, as were many of the 20 people wounded. Prior to the shooting, he had sent a letter to neighbors that contained bizarre, hateful references to women. During the shooting, he chose those who would die — most of whom were women. "All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers!" Hennard yelled.[7]

Victims[edit]

Fatalities from this shooting included:

Name Age Hometown
Patricia Brawn Carney 57 Belton
Jimmie Eugene Caruthers 48 Austin
Kriemhild A. Davis 62 Killeen
Lt. Col. Steven Charles Dody 43 Fort Hood
Alphonse "Al" Gratia, Jr. 71 Copperas Cove
Ursula Edith Marie Gratia 67 Copperas Cove
Debra Ann Gray 33 Copperas Cove
Michael Edward Griffith 48 Copperas Cove
Venice Ellen Henehan 70 Metz, Missouri
Clodine Delphia Humphrey 63 Marlin
Sylvia Mathilde King 30 Killeen
Zona Mae Lynn 45 Marlin
Connie Dean Peterson 43 Austin
Ruth Marie Pujol 36 Copperas Cove
Suzann Neal Rashott 30 San Antonio
John Raymond Romero, Jr. 29 Copperas Cove
Thomas Earl Simmons 33 Killeen
Glen Arval Spivey 55 Harker Heights
Nancy Faye Stansbury 44 Harker Heights
Olgica Andonovsk Taylor 45 Waco
James Walter Welsh 75 Waco
Lula Belle Welsh 64 Waco
Iva Juanita Williams 64 Temple

Among those wounded were:

Perpetrator[edit]

George Hennard
George Hennard.jpg
Hennard in 1983
Born (1956-10-15)October 15, 1956
Sayre, Pennsylvania
Died October 16, 1991(1991-10-16) (aged 35)
Killeen, Texas
Cause of death
Suicide
Occupation Unemployed
Motive Inconclusive
Killings
Date October 16, 1991
12:39 p.m. – 12:51 p.m.
Location(s) Killeen, Texas
Killed 23
Injured 20
Weapon(s) Glock 17, Ruger P89

George Jo Hennard was born Georges Pierre Hennard on October 15, 1956 in Sayre, Pennsylvania, the son of a Swiss-born surgeon and a homemaker. Upon graduating from high school in 1974, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and served for two years until he was honorably discharged in 1976. He later enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1977; he was dismissed from service however, in 1981, after being arrested for drug possession. His seaman's papers were suspended the following year and were later revoked in 1989, after his second arrest for possessing marijuana. During this time he often expressed hostility and hatred of women.

Hennard stalked two sisters who lived in his neighborhood prior to the shooting. He also sent them both a letter claiming he was "truly flattered knowing I had two teenage groupie fans." Hennard signed the letter, "Love you George, Your fan George."[20]

Aftermath[edit]

The memorial to those killed.

In response to the incident,[21] the Texas Legislature in 1995 passed a shall-issue gun law, which requires that all qualifying applicants be issued a Concealed Handgun License (the state's required permit to carry concealed weapons), removing the personal discretion of the issuing authority to deny such licenses. To qualify for a license, one must be free-and-clear of crimes, attend a minimum 10-hour class taught by a state-certified instructor, pass a 50-question test, show proficiency in a 50-round shooting test, and pass two background tests, one shallow and one deep. The license costs $140 for a four year license; in addition applicants must pay $10 for fingerprinting as well as instructor costs which vary.

The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the time of the shooting where both of her parents were shot and killed. She later expressed regret about deciding to leave her gun in her car lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state's concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was "a hundred feet away in my car."[22] She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996.[23] The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.[24]

A simple pink granite memorial stands behind the Killeen Community Center with the date of the event and the names of those killed.

The present site[edit]

The location closed after the incident and reopened after clean-up and redesign of its front wall were completed. It struggled throughout the following years and closed permanently on September 9, 2000.[25] A Chinese-American buffet, Yank Sing, now occupies the former location.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "A Texas Massacre". People 36 (17). November 4, 1991. Retrieved 2012-01-13. 
  3. ^ Killeen recordings released by police, The Press-Courier (October 25, 1991)
  4. ^ Hayes, Thomas C (October 17, 1991). "Gunman Kills 22 and Himself in Texas Cafeteria". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  5. ^ KWTX, Luby’s Massacre Remains Among Nation’s Worst Mass Shootings
  6. ^ Kelly, Steve (1991-12-06). "Texas Chiropractor -- One of 24 Slain in Tragedy". Dynamic Chiropractic 09 (25). Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  7. ^ Terry, Don (October 18, 1991). "Portrait of Texas Killer: Impatient and Troubled". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Luby's rampage victim revisiting grief, Houston Chronicle (November 7, 2009)
  9. ^ Tragedy Strikes Family On Wedding Week With AM-Cafeteria Massacre, Associated Press (October 17, 1991)
  10. ^ Shooting victim, Wellington Leader (October 24, 1991)
  11. ^ Survivors learning to cope since murders at cafeteria, Portsmouth Daily Times (October 15, 1992)
  12. ^ 23 Shot Dead at Texas Cafeteria, Los Angeles Times (October 17, 1991)
  13. ^ Fort Hood attack stirs painful memories for '91 massacre survivor, CNN (November 9, 2009)
  14. ^ Luby's victims expected to flood crime fund, The Austin American-Statesman (October 23, 1991)
  15. ^ Gunman Kills 22 and Himself in Texas Cafeteria, The New York Times (October 17, 1991)
  16. ^ A tragedy's aftermath, The Victoria Advocate (October 15, 1996)
  17. ^ Getting shot, Texas Monthly (July 2002)
  18. ^ Survivors shaken by shooting spree, The American Statesman (October 17, 1991)
  19. ^ Friends, family reflect on victims, search for reason in tragedy, The Austin American-Statesman (October 18, 1991)
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Douglas, Carlyle C (1991-10-20). "Dead: 23 Texans and 1 Anti-Gun Measure". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  22. ^ Transcription of Suzanna Hupp's testimony in favor of Missouri's HB-1720 bill
  23. ^ "U.S. Department of Justice, National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, Biographical Information". justice.gov. 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  24. ^ Verhovek, Sam Howe (1995-03-06). "States Seek to Let Citizens Carry Concealed Weapons". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  25. ^ Luby’s Massacre Remains Among Nation’s Worst Mass Shootings
  26. ^ http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=12299

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°05′37″N 97°43′26″W / 31.09361°N 97.72389°W / 31.09361; -97.72389