Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Day in History: Oct 16, 1991: Twenty-three diners massacred at Texas restaurant

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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.

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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.

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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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Fatalities from this shooting included:

Name Age Hometown
Patricia Brawn Carney 57 Belton
Jimmie Eugene Caruthers 48 Austin
Kriemhild A. Davis 62 Killeen
Lt. Col. Steven Charles Dody 43 Fort Hood
Alphonse "Al" Gratia, Jr. 71 Copperas Cove
Ursula Edith Marie Gratia 67 Copperas Cove
Debra Ann Gray 33 Copperas Cove
Michael Edward Griffith 48 Copperas Cove
Venice Ellen Henehan 70 Metz, Missouri
Clodine Delphia Humphrey 63 Marlin
Sylvia Mathilde King 30 Killeen
Zona Mae Lynn 45 Marlin
Connie Dean Peterson 43 Austin
Ruth Marie Pujol 36 Copperas Cove
Suzann Neal Rashott 30 San Antonio
John Raymond Romero, Jr. 29 Copperas Cove
Thomas Earl Simmons 33 Killeen
Glen Arval Spivey 55 Harker Heights
Nancy Faye Stansbury 44 Harker Heights
Olgica Andonovsk Taylor 45 Waco
James Walter Welsh 75 Waco
Lula Belle Welsh 64 Waco
Iva Juanita Williams 64 Temple

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Among those wounded were:
Louie Caraballo, hit by the truck and shot in the back,[8] Judy Ernst, shot in the arm, Steven Ernst, 49, shot in the stomach,[9] JoAnn Heckathorn, 50, shot in the hip,[10] Hazel Holley, 70, arm fracture,[11] Odene Huron, 74, glass injury[12] Kirby Lack, shot in the back,[13] Bernadette Leasure, shot in the buttocks,[14] Betty May, glass injury,[15] Shannon McMullen, shot in the leg,[16] Barbara Nite, shot in the foot,[17] Charlene Smith, shot in the foot,[18] John Swift, shot in the foot,[19] Thomas Vaughn, glass injuries.

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Taken from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/twenty-three-diners-massacred-at-texas-restaurant [16.10.2013]

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