Luby's shooting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Luby's massacre)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Luby's shooting
Bell Killeen.svg
Location of Killeen, Texas
LocationKilleen, Texas, U.S.
DateOctober 16, 1991; 29 years ago (1991-10-16)
12:39 – 12:51 p.m.[1]
TargetCustomers and staff at a Luby's cafeteria, particularly women; first responders
Attack type
Mass shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide, shootout, femicide
WeaponsSemi-automatic pistols:
Deaths24 (including the perpetrator)
Injured27 (19 from gunfire)
PerpetratorGeorge Hennard

The Luby's shooting, also known as the Luby's massacre, was a mass shooting that took place on October 16, 1991, at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. The perpetrator, George Hennard, drove his pickup truck through the front window of the restaurant. He quickly shot and killed 23 people, and wounded 27 others. He had a brief shootout with police, refused their orders to surrender, and fatally shot himself.

At the time, the shooting was the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history, being surpassed 16 years later by the Virginia Tech shooting.[2][3]


On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Hennard, an unemployed man who had been a member of the United States Merchant Marine,[4] drove a Ford Ranger pickup truck through the plate-glass front window of a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.[5] Hennard yelled, "All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers! This is what you've done to me and my family! This is what Bell County did to me... this is payback day!" He then opened fire on the patrons and staff with both a Glock 17 pistol and a Ruger P89 pistol.[6][7] Hennard shot and killed 23 people, ten of them with single shots to the head, and wounded another 27.[5][8]

October 16 was National Boss's Day, and the cafeteria was unusually crowded with around 150 people.[9][10] At first, bystanders thought the crash was an accident, but Hennard started shooting patrons almost immediately.[1] The first victim was veterinarian Michael Griffith.[11] Another customer, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a rear window, sustaining injuries, but creating an escape route for himself and others.[1] Hennard reloaded at least three times before police arrived and he engaged in a brief shootout with them. Wounded, he retreated to an area between the two bathrooms (people were hiding in these bathrooms and had blocked their doors). The police repeatedly told Hennard to surrender, but he refused, saying he was going to kill more people. Hennard was shot another two times by police, in the abdomen. Having depleted ammunition for one of his weapons and his injuries growing more severe, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.[5][10]


Killed in the shooting were:[1][12]

Name Age Hometown
Patricia Carney 57 Belton
Jimmie Caruthers 48 Austin
Kriemhild Davis 62 Killeen
Steven Dody 43 Copperas Cove/Fort Hood
Alphonse "Al" Gratia 71 Copperas Cove
Ursula Gratia 67 Copperas Cove
Debra Gray 33 Copperas Cove
Michael Griffith 48 Copperas Cove
Venice Henehan 70 Metz, Missouri
Clodine Humphrey 63 Marlin
Sylvia King 30 Killeen
Zona Lynn 65 Marlin
Connie Peterson 41 Austin
Ruth Pujol 55 Copperas Cove
Su-Zann Rashott 36 Copperas Cove
John Romero, Jr. 29 Copperas Cove
Thomas Simmons 33 Copperas Cove
Glen Arval Spivey 55 Harker Heights
Nancy Stansbury 44 Harker Heights
Olgica Taylor 45 Waco
James Welsh 75 Waco
Lula Welsh 75 Waco
Iva Juanita Williams 64 Temple


George Hennard
George Hennard.jpg
Hennard in 1983

The above file's purpose is being discussed and/or is being considered for deletion. See files for discussion to help reach a consensus on what to do.
George Pierre Hennard

(1956-10-15)October 15, 1956
DiedOctober 16, 1991(1991-10-16) (aged 35)
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
EducationMayfield High School

George Pierre Hennard was born on October 15, 1956, in Sayre, Pennsylvania, the son of a Swiss-born surgeon and a homemaker.[13] He had two younger siblings, brother Alan and sister Desiree.[14] Hennard's family later moved to New Mexico, where his father worked at the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces. After graduating from Mayfield High School in 1974, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for three years, until he was honorably discharged.[15] Hennard later worked as a merchant mariner, but was dismissed for drug use.[4]

Early in the investigation of the massacre, the Killeen police chief said that Hennard "had an evident problem with women for some reason".[4] After his parents divorced in 1983, his father moved to Houston, and his mother moved to Henderson, Nevada. The Glock 17 and Ruger P89 9mm pistols which Hennard used were purchased in February 1991 at a gun shop in Henderson.[14]

Hennard stalked two sisters who lived in his neighborhood prior to the massacre. He sent them a letter, part of which said: "Please give me the satisfaction of some day laughing in the face of all those mostly white treacherous female vipers from those two towns [Killeen and Belton] who tried to destroy me and my family".[10] He also wrote that he was "truly flattered knowing I have two teenage groupie fans".[16]

Possible motive[edit]

Hennard was described as reclusive and belligerent, with an explosive temper. He had been pushed out of the Merchant Marine because of possession of marijuana and racial incidents. Numerous reports included accounts of Hennard's expressed hatred of women.[1][4][5] An ex-roommate of his said, "He hated blacks, Hispanics, and gays. He said women were snakes and always had derogatory remarks about them, especially after fights with his mother."[5] Survivors from the cafeteria said Hennard had passed over men to shoot women. 14 of the 23 people killed were women, as were many of the wounded. He called two of them a "bitch" before shooting them.[5]


The memorial to those killed

An anti-crime bill was scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives the day after the massacre. Some of the Hennard victims had been constituents of Rep. Chet Edwards, and in response he abandoned his opposition to a gun control provision that was part of the bill.[17][18] The provision, which did not pass, would have banned some weapons and magazines like one used by Hennard.[17]

The Texas State Rifle Association and others preferred that the state allow its citizens to carry concealed weapons.[17] Democratic governor Ann Richards vetoed such bills, but in 1995 her Republican successor, George W. Bush, signed one into force.[19] The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the massacre; both of her parents, Alphonse "Al" Gratia and Ursula "Suzy" Gratia, were killed by Hennard.[20] She later testified that she would have liked to have had her gun, but said, "It was a hundred feet away in my car." (She had feared that if she was caught carrying it she might lose her chiropractor's license.)[18] Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996.[21]

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

Present site[edit]

The restaurant reopened five months after the massacre, but closed permanently on September 9, 2000.[22] As of 2020, a Chinese-American buffet called "Yank Sing" occupies the location.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Jankowski, Philip (October 16, 2011). "Survivors reflect on Oct. 16, 1991, Luby's shooting". Killeen Daily Herald. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  2. ^ Mass Murderers. True Crime. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books. 1993. ISBN 978-0783500041. Retrieved December 3, 2015. huberty.
  3. ^ "Deadliest Mass Shootings in Modern US History Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Kennedy, J. Michael; Serrano, Richard A. (October 18, 1991). "Police May Never Learn What Motivated Gunman: Massacre: Hennard was seen as reclusive, belligerent. Officials are looking into possibility he hated women". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Chin, Paula (November 4, 1991). "A Texas Massacre". People. 36 (17). Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  6. ^ Woodbury, Richard (October 28, 1991). "Crime: Ten Minutes in Hell". Time. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  7. ^ Dawson, Carol (1 January 2010). House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. pp. 176–177. ISBN 978-0-292-78234-1.
  8. ^ Stone, Michael H.; Brucato, Gary (2019). The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of Modern Violent Crime. Amherst, New York: Prometheus. pp. 44–45.
  9. ^ Hart, Lianne; Wood, Tracy (October 17, 1991). "23 Shot Dead at Texas Cafeteria". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
  10. ^ a b c Hayes, Thomas C. (October 17, 1991). "Gunman Kills 22 and Himself in Texas Cafeteria". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  11. ^ Spellman, Jim (November 9, 2009). "Fort Hood attack stirs painful memories for '91 massacre survivor". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  12. ^ "Victims of the Texas Cafeteria Massacre With AM-Cafeteria Massacre". Associated Press. October 19, 1991. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Dawson, Carol (1 January 2010). House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-292-78234-1.
  14. ^ a b "A Texas Massacre – Vol. 36 No. 17". 1991-11-04. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  15. ^ "Texas massacre had eerie link to movie 'The Fisher King'". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  16. ^ Kennedy, J. Michael; Serrano, Richard A. (October 18, 1991). "Police May Never Learn What Motivated Gunman: Massacre: Hennard was seen as reclusive, belligerent. Officials are looking into possibility he hated women". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
  17. ^ a b c Douglas, Carlyle C. (October 20, 1991). "Dead: 23 Texans and 1 Anti-Gun Measure". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  18. ^ a b Kopel, David B. (2012). "Killeen, Texas, Massacre". In Carter, Gregg Lee (ed.). Guns in American Society. 2 (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 648–650. ISBN 978-0-313-38671-8.
  19. ^ Duggan, Paul (March 16, 2000). "Gun-Friendly Governor". Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  20. ^ Ruddy, Jim (1992). "The Luby's Massacre - Interview with Suzanna Gratia Hupp (1992)". Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  21. ^ "National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, Biographical Information" (PDF). June 19, 2006. p. 5. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  22. ^ "Luby's in Killeen, Texas, site of 1991 massacre, closes its doors". CNN. Associated Press. September 11, 2000. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  23. ^ Nathan, Robert (October 15, 2006). "Luby's tragedy: 15 years later". Killeen Daily Herald.
  24. ^ Kennedy, J. Michael; Serrano, Richard A. (October 18, 1991). "Police May Never Learn What Motivated Gunman: Massacre: Hennard was seen as reclusive, belligerent. Officials are looking into possibility he hated women". Los Angeles Times. p. 3.

Further reading[edit]

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