Luby's Cafeteria (partially found walkthrough video of crime scene from restaurant mass shooting; 1991)
The Luby's Cafeteria Walkthrough Video is a piece of crime scene footage that shows the aftermath of a mass shooting that occurred inside a Texas restaurant, leaving twenty-three dead.
Though its existence has been confirmed and portions of the video have been released to the public, the "full version" has yet to make its way onto the internet.
Luby's (pronounced "loo-bees") is a chain of cafeteria-style restaurants that operates in the state of Texas. Despite a significant financial hit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, over forty locations currently stand as of January 2022.
In 1990, Luby's branched out into the city of Killeen. The restaurant became popular with older crowds and those who went out to eat during their lunch breaks.
On October 16, 1991, the restaurant was packed for Boss's Day. By noon, an estimated 120 people (both diners and employees) were inside the building. As the lunch rush continued, the serving line, which connected to the restaurant's front entrance, became a standstill.
At 12:39 p.m., George Hennard, a 35-year-old former merchant marine, drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck into the cafeteria. Thinking that it was an accident, numerous patrons ran to Hennard's aid and to help those that he had knocked over during the crash. As people approached the driver's side door, Hennard opened fire with a Glock 17 and a Ruger P89 semi-automatic handguns. He proceeded to exit his truck and shoot and kill twenty-two people while injuring more than twenty others.
During the ordeal, a toddler began flailing and screaming in her mother's arms; Hennard allowed the pair to leave, but killed the toddler's grandmother when she tried to escape with them. Tommy Vaughn, a local mechanic, threw his body through one of back windows, giving an opportunity for several patrons to flee.
Three police officers rushed into the restaurant and attempted to flank him. After being shot twice, Hennard ran to an alcove that led to the bathrooms. Falsely claiming that he had a hostage, Hennard exchanged gunfire with the authorities before he was struck by another bullet. Gravely wounded, he collapsed onto his back and shot himself in the head. The entire massacre lasted just twelve minutes.
The final and twenty-third victim died on October 19, when 62-year-old Kriemhild "Kitty" Davis succumbed to her injuries after being place into a medically-induced coma. Luby's Inc. paid for each victim's funeral expenses.
Hennard's motives remain unclear, though he had a history of drug use, sexual violence, and failed relationships. His ex-roommate said that Hennard thought of women as 'snakes' and made derogatory remarks about them, even after fights with his mother. Survivors noted that the shooter stepped over several male patrons in order to purposely execute the women. As he began shooting, Hennard had reportedly screamed, "All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers! This is what you've done to me and my family!" and, "This is what [the women] of Bell County did to me!" At one point during the massacre, he taunted a victim with, "Hidin' from me, bitch?" before shooting her at point blank range.
A few months before his rampage, Hennard had been accused of stalking a woman and her two daughters. Despite their concerns, the family had not actually been threatened; an official investigation was never opened.
The shooting ultimately led to concealed-carry becoming legal statewide, largely due to the activism of survivor Suzanna Hupp, who lost both of her parents in the tragedy. Texas now has some of the most lax gun control laws in the United States.
The Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen reopened five months after the massacre and remained open until September 2000 when it was permanently closed. While the building itself still stands, a Chinese-American buffet called Yank Sing currently operates at the location.
Alleged Content of the Walkthrough
The deceased were "tagged" by placing green dining napkins over their faces and they were removed before filming began. It should be noted that some of the victims were turned over onto their backs for proper identification; a majority of the bodies seen in the walkthrough were not in these specific positions when they were murdered. One of the victims (Venice Henehan, 70) is filmed lying on her side, however; this has led to speculation that the walkthrough began with a simple "walk around" before each specific body was filmed with their IDs.
Clips of the footage were first shown to the public in the 2008 documentary Going Postal: 15 Shocking Acts of Violence, where the shooting was highlighted as number six on the countdown list. More footage appeared in December 2017 during an episode of Copycat Killers. The latter broadcast showed more graphic aspects of the walkthrough while censoring the faces of the deceased.
During the initial snippets shown on television, one victim (Connie Peterson, 41) is shown from the waist-down, having had no room to hide as she cowered in the serving line. A startling glance towards the rear of the truck reveals a body (Olgica Taylor, 45) strewn across a dining chair. A man (Thomas Simmons, 33) lays by the driver's side door, mortally wounded with his chest soaked in blood. An elderly couple (James and Lula Welsh, both 75) are lying in supine positions just a few feet away from where the truck came in; the man's eyes are wide open while a checkbook has been placed on his torso, indicating that he did not have any other form of ID on his person at the time.
While specific footage of these examples have been limited for viewing, a photo album of various crime scene photos confirms the horrors. In 2016, a Reddit user claimed to have viewed the footage first-hand during one of their criminal justice courses in Bell County.
"The videographer entered [the restaurant] through the same path of the perpetrator's vehicle and began to pan to the left where the line had been formed [...] They went from victim to victim, documenting their location. The investigators had taken the state IDs and driver's licenses of [the deceased] and laid them on top of their chests to note their name and location [...] They had already turned over all the victims so that the videographer could get a clear picture of their face. It was eery but effective."
Given that their story was shared before the extensive footage was shown, the user appears to be telling the truth, adding to the potential validity of the video's contents.
It's unknown how long the walkthrough footage is in terms of runtime. Given that a picture shows investigators examining Hennard's truck at night, the walkthrough is probably several hours long; one explanation could be that another video was recorded solely for evidence collection.
As of December 2021, the footage is currently believed to be in the hands of the Killeen Police Department. It's unclear if copies of the walkthrough exist among former investigators.
- People.com article on the shooting. Retrieved 27 Jan '22
- Los Angeles Times article on the shooting. Retrieved 27 Jan '22
- Washington Post article on concealed-carry becoming legal in Texas after the shooting. Retrieved 27 Jan '22
- DarkDocumentaries.com listing of Going Postal: 15 Shocking Acts of Violence. Retrieved 27 Jan '22
- A collection of photos taken from the crime scene. Retrieved 27 Jan '22
- A Reddit user's claiming he saw the footage. Retrieved 27 Jan '22