Luby’s Cafeteria Massacre


On October 16, 1991, 36 year old George Hennard committed the largest mass shooting in the United States at the time. What he did was as inexplicable and motiveless as many of the mass shootings that are more common today. Hennard drove his blue Ford Ranger pickup through the front window of Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen Texas. He then began firing from the cab of the truck with two 9mm pistols. Hennard jumped from the cab and began walking around the cafeteria selecting victims to kill. Police arrived and engaged in a shootout with police and was shot several times. He retreated to the interior of the restaurant and shot himself in the head with one of his last bullets.

In the end the toll of the horror was 23 dead, including 10 shot execution style in the head, and another 27 wounded. Like many mass shootings the motive was unclear. Hennard was an unemployed merchant mariner and navy veteran from a wealthy family. He had been to rehab for drug use. He had bounced from job to job, but couldn’t stick with anything. Many of the people who knew him said he was often angry and had a problem with women. This hated of women came out in many of the statements he made during the shooting. Some witnesses said that he appeared to target women and called them bitches as he went about his rampage. Why Luby’s was targeted was never determined.

In 1995 Texas passed a concealed carry law. This shooting was part of the impetus for that law. Several patrons stated that they had left their firearms in their car or at home because they were concerned with legal ramifications of carrying.


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