|Luby's Mass Shooting|
|Location||Killeen, Texas, United States|
|Date||October 16, 1991
12:39 p.m.–12:51 p.m.
|Target||Patrons at Luby's restaurant|
|Mass shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide, shootout|
|Deaths||24 (including the perpetrator)|
|Motive||Possible hatred of women|
The Luby's shooting was a mass shooting that took place on October 16, 1991, at a restaurant in Killeen, Texas. The perpetrator, George Hennard, crashed his pickup truck through the front of a Luby's Cafeteria, and immediately shot and killed 23 people, and wounded 27 others before shooting and killing himself. It is the third-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, smaller only than the Virginia Tech and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in America that did not occur at a school.
On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Jo Hennard, an unemployed merchant mariner who was described by others as angry and withdrawn, with a dislike of women and minorities, drove his blue 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the plate-glass front window of a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. Yelling, "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!" Hennard opened fire on its patrons and staff with both a 9mm Glock 17 pistol & a 9mm Ruger P89 pistol. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people, ten of them with single shots to the head, and wounded another 27 before committing suicide. Approximately 140 people were in the restaurant.
It was National Boss's Day and the restaurant was crowded. At first, observers believed the crash was an accident, but the shooting started almost immediately. The first victim was veterinarian Michael Griffith. Another patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a rear window of the restaurant, sustaining injuries, but providing an escape route for himself and other customers.
Hennard reloaded at least three times before fleeing to the bathroom after a brief shootout with police officers. During the shootout, Hennard was wounded by the police. The incident ended when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Numerous reports included various accounts of Hennard's hatred of women. An ex-roommate said, "He hated blacks, Hispanics, gays. He said women were snakes" and "always had derogatory remarks about women, especially after fights with his mother."
Murdered in the shooting were:
|Lt. Col. Steven Dody||43||Fort Hood|
|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|
|Ruth Pujol||36||Copperas Cove|
|Su-Zann Rashott||30||San Antonio|
|John Romero, Jr.||33||Copperas Cove|
|Glen Arval Spivey||44||Harker Heights|
|Nancy Stansbury||44||Harker Heights|
Hennard in 1983
|Born||Georges Pierre Hennard
October 15, 1956
|Died||October 16, 1991
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Date||October 16, 1991
12:39 p.m. – 12:51 p.m.
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. He had two younger siblings, Alan and Desiree. His family later moved to New Mexico, where his father worked at the White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces. Upon graduating from Mayfield High School in Las Cruces in 1974, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and served for two years until he was honorably discharged in 1976. He later worked as a merchant mariner, but was dismissed for drug use. Early in the investigation of the shooting the Killeen police chief said that Hennard "had an evident problem with women for some reason." 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 handguns used were purchased between February and March 1991 at a gun shop in Henderson.
Hennard stalked two sisters who lived in his neighborhood prior to the shooting. 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." He also wrote that he was "truly flattered knowing I had two teenage groupie fans."
An anti-crime bill was scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives the day after the incident. Some of the shooting victims had been constituents of Representative Chet Edwards, and in response he abandoned his opposition to a gun control provision that was part of the bill. The provision, which did not pass, would have banned some assault rifles and magazines like one used by Hennard.
The Texas State Rifle Association and others preferred that the state allow its citizens to carry concealed weapons. Democratic governor Ann Richards vetoed such bills, but in 1995 her Republican successor, George W. Bush, signed one into force. The shall-issue law requires that qualifying applicants be issued a concealed handgun license (the state's required permit to carry concealed weapons). 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 shooting where both of her parents were killed. She later testified that she would have liked to have her gun during the shooting, but said, "it was a hundred feet away in my car." (She had feared that if she was caught carrying her gun she might lose her chiropractor's license.) She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996.
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
The Luby's reopened five months after the shooting, but closed permanently in September 2000. As of 2006, a Chinese-American buffet occupied the location.
- 2009 Fort Hood shooting and 2014 Fort Hood shooting, two other mass shootings in Killeen, Texas
- 2011 IHOP shooting, another shooting at a popular restaurant
- Brown's Chicken massacre, another shooting at a popular restaurant
- San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States prior to the Luby shooting
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- 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.
- Woodbury, Richard (October 28, 1991). "Crime: Ten Minutes in Hell". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved June 24, 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- 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 9780292782341.
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- 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.
- Douglas, Carlyle C. (October 20, 1991). "Dead: 23 Texans and 1 Anti-Gun Measure". New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
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- "National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, Biographical Information" (PDF). justice.gov. June 19, 2006. p. 5. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
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- 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.
- "Shooting rampage at Killeen Luby's left 24 dead". Houston Chronicle. August 11, 2001. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011.
- Winingham, Ralph (1997). "Texas massacre, fear of crime spur concealed-gun laws". San Antonio Express-News. Archived from the original on January 28, 1999.