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The Luby’s Massacre - Interview with Suzanna Gratia Hupp (1992)

Jim Ruddy

Sound | 1992

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TAMI Tags
  •  Hupp describes what she witnessed during the Luby’s massacre 
  •  Hupp discusses how the local community bonded together immediately after the tragedy 
  •  Hupp explains her personal healing process 
  •  Hupp talks about what others might learn from this tragedy 
 
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This footage, taped by director Jim Ruddy for “Entertainment Tonight”, covers the production of and local response to an “America’s Most Wanted” story on the Luby’s massacre, a mass murder that occurred in Killeen, Texas on October 16, 1991. Taped just a few months after the tragedy in early 1992, this footage features an interview with then-future Texas State Representative Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a survivor whose parents were murdered by gunman George Hennard during the massacre.
On October 16, 1991, George Pierre Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup through the front window of a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas.  Emerging from his truck, the 35 year old Hennard, an unemployed seaman from nearby Belton, Texas, began to open fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff.  Over the course of about fifteen minutes, Hennard shot over 40 individuals, killing 23 and wounding another 20.  Shortly after police arrived and exchanged fire with the gunman, Hennard committed suicide, ending what remains one of the deadliest non-school shooting rampages in American history.  
 
A few months after the massacre, “America’s Most Wanted,” the long-running criminal investigation television program, arrived in Killeen to shoot a special on the Luby’s massacre.  The program’s departure from its typical format of focusing on the capture of criminals, as well as the producers’ decision to film a reenactment of the tragedy, raised the ire of several local community members, including the mayor of Killeen, Major Blair.  The majority of survivors, however, approved of the “America’s Most Wanted” special and welcomed the support of host John Walsh.
After surviving the Luby’s massacre, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a native of Friendswood, Texas, became a leading advocate of an individual’s right to carry a concealed weapon.  In the years following the tragedy, Hupp testified across the United States in support of concealed-handgun laws, arguing that if she had been allowed to carry a gun into Luby’s on the day of the massacre, she could have saved the lives of her parents, both of whom were killed by gunman George Hennard.  In 1996, Hupp was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and represented the traditionally Democratic District 54 (Bell, Burnet, and Lampasas counties) for ten years. from 1997-2007.
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