Rampage in El Paso wasn’t the state’s worst

The Killeen Luby's after the deadly shooting in 1991. (File Photo)
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(KWTX) The shooting rampage in El Paso that left 22 dead wasn’t the state’s worst mass shooting.

That occurred on Nov. 5, 2017 when Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels opened fire inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26 and wounding 20 others.

A bystander, Stephen Willeford, shot Kelley twice as he exited the church and then flagged down a passing SUV driven by Johnnie Langendorff, and pursued the fleeing gunman, who sped off in his pickup.

Kelley killed shot himself to death after crashing his pickup.

And 28 years ago, a shooting at the Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen ultimately claimed 23 lives.

During the lunch hour on Oct. 16, 1991, George Hennard, 35, of Belton, drove his truck through one of the restaurant’s plate glass windows, got out and opened fire with a pair of semi-automatic pistols.

In the span of just 14 minutes, the gunman shot 50 people, 22 of whom died at the scene, and one of whom died later.

A Killeen police officer managed to shoot and injure Hennard, who then took his own life.

The Killeen massacre stood as the worst not involving a school until the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Fla., which left 49 dead and 58 wounded.

Law enforcement techniques and technologies have evolved substantially in the 28 years since the Luby’s shooting.

Law enforcement agencies train routinely for active shooter situations, and Bell County Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Harmon says a part of that training involves getting into the crime scene even as it's active and rescue the injured,

"That's one thing that our police departments are working with, our fire departments and EMS to where when they are confronted with a situation like this, they can secure the scene but get the victims out to medical treatment as soon as possible."

Harmon says new technology is helping law enforcement attack an active shooter situation safely.

"A little ball that's armored, that you can throw into a room and no matter how the ball lands you get a 360-degree view of what's going on inside that room."

Harmon says now, highly trained strike teams can respond within minutes.