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Mass Murderer Lived Quietly in Nevada, Where He Bought His Weapons With PM-Cafeteria

October 18, 1991

Mass Murderer Lived Quietly in Nevada, Where He Bought His Weapons With PM-Cafeteria Massacre, Bjt

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) _ A neighbor in the fashionable apartment complex where mass murderer George Hennard lived for a time with his mother said he befriended her grandson and went swimming with the neighborhood kids.

It was also in this community about 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas that Hennard, who killed 22 people in a Texas cafeteria on Wednesday before killing himself, purchased the two weapons he used in the massacre.

″It’s frightening to think someone so calm could do what he did,″ neighbor Kate Rogers said. ″I never saw him upset at any time. He was just a quiet neighbor who stuck to himself.″

No motive has yet surfaced to explain the killings, though authorities released the transcript of an angry letter in which the 35-year-old Hennard vented hatred toward women.

The unemployed son of wealthy, divorced parents, Hennard spent the summer in Henderson, before moving to his family’s mansion in Belton, Texas. It was in nearby Killeen, Texas, that he smashed his pickup through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at lunchtime and opened fire.

A hospital in Houston, where his physician father lives, said in a statement Thursday night that Hennard was treated for chemical dependency in July 1989. He was arrested in El Paso in 1981 on a marijuana possession charge, pleaded guilty and was given six months probation.

None of his problems were evident to neighbors in The Turf Club, a gated affluent community in Henderson.

Beverly White, who lived across a driveway from Hennard’s apartment, said her 6-year-old grandson met him this summer after expressing an interest in Hennard’s 10-speed bicycle.

She recalled one time this summer when Hennard went swimming with several boys who live in the complex. Later, she said, Hennard left a toy airplane with a note on her porch as a gift for the boy.

″We couldn’t figure out why he left the toy,″ she said.

White said Hennard kept to himself and she recalled seeing him in the parking lot from time to time washing his car. In Belton, neighbors described Hennard as a handsome loner who obsessively mowed his yard and washed his blue pickup truck.

Hennard bought the two 9mm semiautomatic pistols - a Glock 17 and a Ruger P89 - in February and March from Mike’s Gun House, a Henderson mail order gun business run out of a home, said Police Chief James Goff. Goff said the owner had the proper credentials and was licensed by the city.

Goff said Hennard had filled out the registration for the gun and listed his mother as a reference. Police were unable to locate his mother on Thursday.

Henderson police said their records showed he had no police record, and there was nothing to stop him from buying the guns.

Eric Cooper, an undersheriff with the Las Vegas police, said, ″He just never came to the attention of police.″

Update hourly