October 16

This Day in History

Crime

Oct 16, 1991:

Twenty-three diners massacred at Texas restaurant

George Jo Hennard drives his truck through a window in Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas, and then opens fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The incident was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history.

The rampage at the Central Texas restaurant began at approximately 12:45 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes. Witnesses reported that the 35-year-old gunman moved methodically through the large crowd, shooting people randomly and reloading his weapon several times. Hennard, of nearby Belton, Texas, was shot several times by police before he committed suicide. No clear motive for his actions was ever determined.

In the aftermath of the Luby’s massacre, Killeen residents urged officials at Luby’s corporate headquarters to let the restaurant re-open so people wouldn’t lose their jobs. Five months after the shootings, the cafeteria was back in business and stayed open for nine more years before permanently shutting its doors in September 2000. Another outcome of the Luby’s massacre was that in 1995 the Texas legislature passed a law allowing residents with gun permits to carry concealed weapons. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who was at Luby’s with her parents on the day of the massacre and watched as they were murdered, was instrumental in getting the law passed. Hupp had a handgun with her that day, but left it in her car to comply with the law that forbid people from carrying concealed firearms.

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