Gut-wrenching is the only way to describe the effects of reading the Killeen Daily Herald’s in-depth story Sunday on the 20th anniversary of the horrific mass-murder at the Luby’s Cafeteria in that town.

It was 16 October 1991 that murderer George Hennard, 35, crashed his pickup through the front window and began executing people, beginning with women, shouting “This is for the women of Bell County.”

23 innocent Texans were killed with 20 others wounded. Some died trying to stop the shooter, some never had a chance to react, and others were murdered while looking in the eyes of the shooter.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp was then a practicing chiropractor in Copperas Cove and her parents, Ursula and Al Gratia, convinced her to drive over and have lunch with them.

“The Gratias took cover when the shooting started, and Hupp thought about her pistol in her car. Earlier in life, she had been told to always keep it on her. On that October afternoon, though, she abided by the state’s laws [as the law abiding do while the criminals don’t] and left the gun in her car. Though Al Gratia was unarmed and more than 70 years old, he charged the shooter. He covered half the distance before Hennard shot him in the chest,” the Herald reported. Her mother, Ursula was shot while cradling her dead husband’s head.

Suzanne was elected state rep. for HD54 in 1996 and, along with then Senator Jerry Patterson, worked hard to make it possible for the law abiding in Texas to carry concealed handguns so that murderers such as Hennard can be stopped more quickly. Believe it or not, there are still people who think the murderers should have the upper hand, either on college campuses, or for some, everywhere.

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at


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