NewsLuby's Massacre: 30 Years Later


25 News Exclusive: Luby's survivors warn ‘it can happen again’

Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 17:50:44-04

KILLEEN, Texas — Pastor Kirby Lack went to the Luby's in Killeen on Oct. 16, 1991 with his best friend Mike Griffith.

Griffith had just made a joke about nobody coming to his funeral when a gunman crashed into the building.

“There was an old couple right behind me. He drove completely over them and dragged them,” Lack said. “(I) was running to the back of the truck to help that elderly couple. He came out the window with a 9mm and he shot the cashier.”

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George Hennard's pickup inside Luby's after the massacre on Oct. 16, 1991

After crashing his truck through the windows, George Hennard, 35, started randomly shooting people with a Glock 17 and Ruger P38.

Lack thought he could get the jump on Hennard who initially shot through the open window of his truck.

"I thought if I could get there quick enough, I could grab his arm,” Lack said. “Before I could, he got out of the truck and he made eye contact, and he shot at me. But I don't know where it went because I took off.”


Lack ended up huddled with John Romero Jr. and Lt. Col. Steven Dody.

Hennard circled the cafeteria randomly shooting people, including Romero.

“Johnny, for whatever reason, sat up, or on his knees. He kind of raised up and when he did, (Hennard) shot him in the chest,” Lack said. “We're trying to stop the blood and I was just so shocked how fast that white shirt just absorbed and went red.”

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Woman leaving Luby's after the massacre.

The minutes seemed like hours as people frantically looked for any way they could to survive.

"(Hennard) came out with another gun and he shot over our heads. Missed both of us. We immediately just dropped to the ground,” Lack said. “That's when he came over. He shot me in the back.”

“His second lap around, he was pulling people out from underneath tables and shooting them in the head,” Lack said. “Anybody he had wounded, now he was finishing them off.”

“He came up behind me, kind of straddled me and I covered my face with my hand,” Lack said. “After he kicked me, he bent down. He pushed the muzzle up against (my head). I'm thinking, I'm coming home. That's about the time that the cops yelled, ‘Drop your gun!’”

“I believe it was my angels. I truly do. Because when he was pushing, and when he fired, something moved his hand. Totally missed me.”

The Luby's massacre made national news and shifted the debate over gun control.

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For years, Texas lawmakers would try to legalize concealed carry permits. But then-Gov. Ann Richards would veto them.

According to a book on the former governor, the Luby's massacre only solidified her resolve.

But another Luby's survivor, Dr. Suzanna Hupp – who lost both of her parents in the massacre -- went on the offensive, even testifying before Congress.

"I'm mad at my legislators for legislating me out of the right to protect me and my family,” said Hupp to a Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993. “I would much rather be sitting in jail with a felony offense on my head and have my parents alive."

In 1996, she was elected to the first of five terms in the Texas House and later wrote a book -- From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control.

Lack said Luby's taught us that it takes precious minutes for help to arrive.

He said we should have an escape plan for every room we enter, keep an eye on who comes in and be ready to act.

While the shooting left Lack with many questions, it didn't affect his faith.

“It kind of made me a little angry at God, but my faith is stronger now than it ever was,” Lack said. “One of the most important things that I teach my children, my congregation, it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you respond.”