A self-confessed woman-hater drove his truck into a cafe, killed 23 people and injured 20 more – before snuffing out his own life. But why?
Just off a busy street in the Texas town of Killeen was a popular restaurant called Luby’s Cafeteria. At lunchtime on 16 October 1991, it was packed with a crowd of nearly 150 people who were enjoying a bite to eat and a chat with loved ones.
But the jovial atmosphere wasn’t to last.
Out of nowhere, a large Ford Ranger pickup truck drove at speed into the glass-fronted diner.
But this wasn’t a freak road accident. The man behind the wheel was there to kill.
After sending bodies flying across the venue, George Jo Hennard, 35, got out of his vehicle, brandishing two high-powered guns – a Glock 17 pistol and a Ruger P89.
Without the slightest hint of mercy, he then worked his way through the crowd, firing at his selected victims at point-blank range. After wounding each of them, he methodically checked that they were dead before moving on to the next.
As gunshot after gunshot rang out, most of those inside had little choice but to hide under tables, clutching each other desperately and praying.
Occasionally, as Hennard stopped to reload his handguns, there were moments of eerie silence.
But it wasn’t long until the pop, pop, pop of the gun filled everyone’s ears again, as Hennard ploughed on with his slaying.
A handful of petrified people scrambled across the blood-drenched floor dodging toppled tables, to the back of the cafe.
One of them managed to smash a window with a chair and the hole was used as an escape route.
With his heart set on causing as much destruction as possible, Hennard murdered 23 innocent people in a terrifyingly short space of time. Another 20 lay injured, some critically.
Some 10 minutes after the crash, police arrived on the scene.
For a few minutes, they exchanged gunfire with the killer. They wounded him four times, but he remained alive.
Then, as if it was all part of his master plan, Hennard made his way to the toilets in the cafe, plucked his last bullet from his belt, loaded his gun one final time, and shot himself in the head.
The slaughter was finally over – but the wider devastation caused by it was just beginning for those who lived on.
The mass shooting was the worst in US history at the time,
Without mercy, he fired at victims at point-blank range
and the town of Killeen, with a population of 66,000, was left stunned.
Investigators tried to piece together what had motivated a young man from a wealthy family to commit such a heinous crime.
An autopsy showed no signs of drug use or evidence of brain tumours. So what could have been driving his actions?
The son of a doctor, the young George Jo Hennard was popular and admired at school.
‘Everybody thought he was cool. He was a good-looking
Hazel escaped through a broken window
The pickup was driven into the busy diner