Robert L. Kelley is a firefighter/first responder for the Gatesville (TX) Volunteer Fire Department. He worked as a firefighter/paramedic for the Killeen (TX) Fire Department from 1982-97. His article Killeen Diary, which detailed his experiences responding to the October 1991 Luby's shooting, appeared in the March 1992 issue of EMS Magazine. The mass shooting, in which gunman George Hennard killed 23 before shooting himself, was the deadliest in U.S. history before Virginia Tech. Excerpts from his journal entries follow. The material, with minor exceptions, is unedited.
I was applying the second coat of wax to the hood of my car when I heard sirens. Went upstairs for my scanner. I heard dispatch call for an ambulance. Then I heard dispatch call for another ambulance. Dispatch gave the location of Luby's and reported a "multiple shooting." I wiped off the wax and started to Luby's. I felt strange, like something was wrong. The tone of voice of the dispatcher was not right.
While en route, I heard the shooting was still going on in Luby's and the scene wasn't secure. I saw 278 sitting on the side of the road and went to it. Told Mark that I was there to help and got a pair of rubber gloves.
We noticed a man in the ditch with a bloody rag. We wondered if the man was hurt. With shooting still going on, it was too risky to take the ambulance to him. I told Mark to give me the portable and I'd crawl in the ditch to him. When I got to the man, a police officer was there. The man reported he wasn't hurt and that he got the blood on him from a victim inside Luby's.
I saw a woman hiding in the culvert and a man was holding her hand. I asked if both of them were hurt, and the man replied that they weren't. The police officer then went running to Luby's, and I heard the ambulance go by me and pull to a stop under the canopy. I ran toward the unit.
When I got to the unit, Mark was on the radio, calling for all available help and equipment, saying he had a large number of victims. Mark's face was white and then I got shook. I went into Luby's and went numb when I saw the scene.
I went back to the unit and called for more equipment. This had already been done, but for some reason l felt it was the right thing to do. I also had a very hard time reaching dispatch. I later learned that it was because they were so busy they didn't have time to answer.
I reentered Luby's, went to my right and started to check for pulses on the first victim I saw. I checked about four victims before I found a man who was lying on his back, complaining that he had been shot in the back and it felt as though the bullet was around his belly button. He also said he felt like he was bleeding on the inside. He had good respirations and a strong pulse. I advised him that a team would be along to take care of him shortly. I saw no heavy bleeding coming from this man.
I then went to the next victims in line along the front windows. After checking two more victims, I started to cover their faces with green napkins from the tables. I thought it was strange that all of the people I was checking had been shot in the head. I checked two or three more victims before finding another man with a gunshot wound to the right foot. The wound wasn't bleeding, and the man had no other injuries. I advised him to stay still and a team would be along to take care of him.
Sitting on a chair to my left was a woman. I asked her if she had any injuries. She said no and that she just wanted to sit here and be with the man I had just checked. I advised her she really needed care. She then got up and went outside.
I checked a couple of people who were lying on either side of the man with the foot injury. They were both dead and got green napkins.
I then went to a woman who was sitting in a chair by a window in the southeast corner, one table down from the man with the foot injury. I asked her if she was injured. She said she'd been shot in the right hip. She pulled down her pants to show me a small bullet hole with no bleeding. She had no other injuries. I advised her to stay where she was and that a team would be along to take care of her shortly.