Hennard Was Rude, Scary, Neighbors Say
Dallas Morning News
BELTON, Texas - Neighbors knew George Hennard, who lived in a nice house on a quiet street, as sullen, rude and terrifying.
Police identified Hennard as the gunman who killed 22 people yesterday in Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, about 150 miles south of Dallas and 20 miles west of Belton.
Days before the massacre, Hennard, 35, made disturbing calls and threatening gestures to neighbors, they said.
In a letter he wrote June 6 to two female neighbors, asking for a date, Hennard said: "Please give me the satisfaction of someday laughing in the face of all those mostly white treacherous female vipers from those two towns who tried to destroy me and my family." He included pictures of himself.
The women said Hennard, in his letter, probably was referring to the towns of Belton and Killeen.
"He had strange ideas," said Jill Fritz, 23, one of the recipients of the letters. She and her sister, Jana Jernigan, 19, said they had reported Hennard to Belton police several times for obscene phone calls.
Jernigan said Hennard had been arrested in the past few months for disturbing the peace. They said he had been screaming from his front yard at other women.
Their mother, Jane Bugg, said: "I took the letter to the Belton police because it scared me. It scared me badly."
Last Friday, the women said, Hennard made an obscene gesture at them as they passed his house.
"If maybe they (police) had done something, none of this ever
would have happened and those 22 people would not be dead right now," Jernigan said.
Sheriff's deputies sealed off Hennard's well-kept brick colonial house yesterday afternoon. Phone calls to the residence were answered by a recorded message in which a voice informed callers that they had reached something called "public street."
Details remained sketchy, but other neighbors offered speculation on what had driven Hennard to his deadly act.
Witnesses at the shooting scene said Hennard remarked, "This is for what Belton did to me." Other versions had him saying, "This is for what Bell County did to me." Belton, population 12,500, is the seat of Bell County.
Hennard was believed to have lost his Nevada driver's license recently in a Bell County court proceeding. Neighbors also said he was inordinately angered by a city order that he rebuild a damaged fence behind his home.
"He was so incommunicative that I really wouldn't know what to expect from him," said neighbor Nan Russell.
The house in which he lived belongs to his parents. His father, George Hennard, a former military orthopedic surgeon, practices in Houston. His mother, believed to live in Nevada, once owned two antique stores in the area.
Hennard's parents separated about four years ago, neighbors said, and Hennard remained in the house. A for-sale sign is posted in the manicured front yard.
Russell, 72, recalled Hennard as being withdrawn. "He wasn't friendly to me, and I know he wasn't friendly to other people," she said.
Russell recalled talking to a couple who looked at the house recently, thinking of buying it, only to be rudely rebuffed by Hennard.
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