On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George Pierre Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen. Emerging from his truck, Hennard, an unemployed former Merchant Marine from nearby Belton, began to open fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff. Over the course of about 15 minutes, Hennard shot and killed 23 people, wounding another 27. Shortly after police arrived and exchanged fire with the gunman, Hennard died by suicide. Authorities were unable to conclusively determine a motive for the shooting. The Los Angeles Times described Hennard as a “reclusive, belligerent man with an explosive temper” and possible hatred of women.
Sadly, tragedies like the mass shooting in Killeen are an all too common occurrence in Texas. Four of the ten most deadly mass shootings in modern US history took place in the Lone Star State. In 1966—25 years before the Luby’s Massacre—a former Marine sharpshooter ascended to the observation deck of the University of Texas at Austin Main Building and opened fire on the individuals below, killing 17. Sixteen years after Killeen, a shooter killed 26 parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in 2017. Two years later, a lone gunman murdered 22 people in an El Paso Walmart.