Chef Travis Henderson Was Killed on the Night His Former Restaurant Celebrated Its Re-Opening

Categories: Food News

travishenderson.jpg
Over the weekend, the sad news came in that Travis Henderson, the former chef and co-owner of the Place at Perry's, was shot to death by Dallas SWAT officer Samuel McDonnold.

According to reports, the Carrollton Police Department was told on February 24 that Henderson planned to harm himself and was in possession of a firearm. They found Henderson's car later that evening, parked behind the Valley View Christian Church on Marsh Lane. Negotiations failed, and Henderson was shot when he stepped out of his vehicle, brandishing a handgun. He died at the scene.

Henderson is most recently associated with his work at the Place at Perry's, a prominent steakhouse previously located on Routh Street. While working at that restaurant, he received praise from Observer critic Dave Faries as one of Dallas' top 10 chefs who deserve more attention in 2009. Later that year, Faries covered an event at the steakhouse and wrote this:

Chef-owner Travis Henderson's restaurant is sometimes overlooked when people tick off lists of this city's top steakhouses, in part because it's not an overblown palace. But they really should consider The Place at Perry's alongside Del Frisco's, Nick & Sam's and Pappas Bros.

That story turned out to be prophetic. In 2011, the Place at Perry's was listed in the Dallas Morning News' Best In DFW: Steakhouses, alongside Pappas Bros. just as Faries said it should be. A subsequent feature in D Magazine ranked the steakhouse.

Henderson wasn't around to celebrate the accolades. He'd separated with the Place at Perry's in 2010 and went on to pursue a consulting career. He died on the same evening his former restaurant marked its re-opening at a new location on Cedar Springs. He was 52.

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The Place at Perry's

2680 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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75 comments
Intel Officer
Intel Officer

It is so very difficult to read all of the negative comments about such an amazing man.  Those  who comment and did not know Travis personally, your perception of the situation is understandable.  I cannot speak for Dallas SWAT, as I am nether a member or an eye witness to Travis's death.  As much as I don't want to defend their actions, as a member of the US military,  I have learned first hand, when a weapon is pointed in your direction you are trained to react and protect not only yourself but those you serve beside.    Having said that, we are all capable of making mistakes and wrong decisions.  Many people chose a career in which a mistake only harms themselves and isn't fatal.  However, as police officers or any profession that protects the people, we don't have this luxury.   Regardless of what the news reports say, mistake or justified action, you can guarantee the officer who shot Travis is struggling too, along with his family. No one puts on a uniform and decides "I am going to kill someone today".  You simply do what you are trained to do. Muscle memory takes over and you pray you make the right decisions.

 Many of us are saddened by this. 

I was truly shocked to hear about the nature of his death. I have known Travis for almost 20 years. He had a license to carry and was very well versed in Texas gun laws. When I first started carrying, he would always tell me to be careful if I was pulled over by the police. He said to make sure I showed them my  drivers license and handgun license together.  Travis wore a leather shoulder strap/ holster for his pistol and kept it there many times when he travelled.  Regardless of his "demons", it just doesn't sound like Travis to wave or point a weapon at the police, whether to harm himself or the police.  He lived near the church he was stopped at, his oldest daughter's birthday was a few days before and Perry's re-opening was that night. Parking at the church to reminisce and pray is not an uncommon practice.  As a close friend of Travis, I hope the entire story comes out about his death and justice is served. The public doesn't need an answer, but his family deserves to hear the entire story, as it occurred on tape.  Either way, an investigation should take place for the peace of mind of both families. The officer can have his name cleared or justice will be served. 

What we think (as non family members) is immaterial. No matter whose side we are on, a great man is still taken from us and another man has to live with the fact he has taken another's life. Either side is a tragedy. 

To those who have posted the positive comments about Travis, I say thank you. He was everything you said and more. Many times when someone passes, we feel obligated to say something positive about them, even if they were completely rotten on the inside. This is simply not the case with Travis.  He truly was one of a kind. Yes, he was a culinary genius who inspired and mentored many  but he was so much more than that. He was caring, passionate, always had a joke to tell, fun loving, intelligent, humble, kind hearted, vivacious... The list could go on and on.  He loved his family  immensely.  I don't think I knew anyone who was more proud of his children or a bigger Cowboy fan (the football team and the wild west cowboy). He used to wear these cowboy boots everywhere!  How he stood all day in these, I will never know. 

He was an  incredible man who stood up for me and prevented me from harm, encouraged me to never give up during the tough times of my life, was someone I didn't have to pretend around. He loved people for who they were and who he saw they could become.  I am a better person for knowing him and owe much of my happiness to him. He is truly missed. 

The english critics who seem to be experts here, have fun with my posting. I am sure it is full of mistakes. Perhaps you can do something productive with your time and teach us "illiterates" the proper way to write in times of sadness, when spelling and prose are the least of our concerns.  It's okay though, let your voice be heard.  I will still defend your right to freedom of speech. I am even willing to die for your freedom of speech and ignorance every day. It is my duty and honor. 

Caronintexas3
Caronintexas3

Again thank you for your kind words of my brother.  Obviously you knew him very well because and your description of his is picture perfect.  I could feel the compassion in your words as someone that truly knew who my brother was and what he was about. I have not been on this blog in a while because of fear that I would read something negative but I am so glad I checked and found your posting. Reading it took me back to a place in life when my brother was alive, the memories of his jokes, his whitty sence of humor, the love he had for his family and the love he had for his profession.  We were so proud of his accomplishments in the restaurant industry and in his life.  He went from being a small town prep cook in Wichita Falls to a big time chef in Big D.  And the boots you mentioned are still on a shelf in his closet to never be worn so proudly again.  It is so sad and not because he was my brother, because he was so much to so many people, thanks for being one that took the time to share your memories and personal knowledge of him. It meant to world to me and I can't wait for our mom to read it.  God Bless you and your family. Love them like they could be gone tomorrow.  The phone call I got the Saturday morning after Travis died made me realize how short life is and I hope and prey that my brother knew how much we loved him as he sat in that chuch parking lot all alone where his life was so tragically ended.

Caronintexas3
Caronintexas3

I am Travis's sister.  Thank you for your words about my brother.  He was a wonderful brother.  I respect the words you wrote for the officer that shot him as well but I recently watch the vidoe of the shooting of my brother.  He was shot twice in the chest by the same officer and both bullets hit the exact same spot..  My brother did not point the gun at any officer and they never said he did  and we were told that my brother was shot because he was holding a gun and fastly approaching the officers after he exited his vehicle but only 1 seoond had ticked off the helicopter vidoe before 2 shots were fired.  I watched the vidoe to answer all questions I had and they were all answered in a 20 min long helicopter video.  My brother homicide was not justified in any way at the hands of the Dallas swat officer Samuel McDonnall who was one of many armed officers at the scene but for some reason he is the only one that fired. Them 2 shots will forever ring in my hears as they did the day I watched the video. 

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Travis was a wonderful Man, loving father and the best son in the world. There was no reason to kill him. So they go out to keep him from harm and shot him with an assult gun. Oh, I did not know that is how we keep people safe from themself. We kill a man that has never been in any trouble with the law. We kill them because they are depressed. Oh, he had a small hand gun that he had a licences to carry. Let me see one picture of him pulling that little pea shooter on any cop. You can't because he did not pull it on anyone

Laura Woodress A Wesbrooks
Laura Woodress A Wesbrooks

I knew him so long ago. He was my first love, my true love. I love you and miss you so much. the world...my world...will never be near what it was when you were here. yes....what a huge loss. ALL MY LOVE TO U TRAVIS...Thank you for all the great times...thank you for your friendship as well. you were also my very best friend. Laura Wesbrooks Woodress

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Tank you Laura, come see me, I remember those years

Travis' Mother

Bcurtis
Bcurtis

I cooked side by side with Travis at the Pelican in Wichita Falls from 1975 through 1977. We laughed and gave each other hell every night. We never ran around outside of work. But when that kitchen fired up each night, we had it down to an art. He was a magician with food and even more impressive with timing as the dinners went out. We were 16 years old and we could have hung with anybody in the business. As the Pelican restaurants grew across the state Travis and I would travel to each new store and train the staff. We were barely old enough to drive, but God it was an adventure.

Travis went on to be wildly successful in the restaurant world of Dallas. I went into the oil business.

As anybody who as ever Cooked in a busy restaurant knows, the pressure on a busy night is intense. You bond deeply with your wing man. I still have vivid dreams of those nights when we were "in the weeds"

Adios Travis. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Brad Curtis

We stayed in touch over the years. He always seemed so happy.

Caron Henderson Williams
Caron Henderson Williams

Hi Brad. Thanks for the nice things you said about my brother.  Me and my mom are reading this together and what you said really brought back memories from long ago about Travis and his Pelican days.  My mother would like to talk to you some time when you have time.  Please call her at 940-696-8825.

Thanks again,

Caron Hnederson Williams & My mother

Kenneth Clough
Kenneth Clough

That is a broad generalization. Keep that in mind when you need one of them to protect you.

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Yes, my son was all that and much more. He is in God's hands through Jesus Christ and no one can hurt him any more. Thank you to all that was his friend, co-worker, and life long friend. Travis always gave it his best and was good to all man kind to the poorest and to some of the richest , he treated all of mand kind the same. Son, I am proud of you and I know you are in Jesus arms laughing at the rest of us who have not made it yet. Rest with your Heavenly father and save a place for me.

Mother

Euntersee
Euntersee

    Travis and I worked together at Sam's Cafe and Newports and I saw him  at Perry,s a few times when I was a patron.  I am speechless.....what do you say about such a good person that had so many demons chasing after him.  My heart goes out to his family!!!!I have not seen him in many years but my heart breaks for his family and his children that I have not seen since they were preschool age.  I want his children to know that when I knew him and saw him on a regular basis that they were the light of his life and he talked about them all the time and was so proud when Karen brought them into the restaurant. The whole situation SUCKS, but no one really knows what happened except for the people that witnessed it in person.   It is a tragedy!!!!  Does not matter whether it was "suicide by cop" or mistaken threat by police. They protect us and they HAVE to protect themselves and I have to believe that God had a plan for him despite the fact that I don't understand it or why it had to be this way,  He loved his family and was truelly loved by his them.  I hope his children can one day overcome their diiffernces with him and forgive him for his mistakes and weaknesses knowing how much he loved them.

God is with you Travis!!!!! And I have to believe that he has a plan for you,

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Do any of you know how many POLICE benefits, Travis did each year for the Dallas police, free of charge? Well, I do.

Pandadeguate
Pandadeguate

Im going to miss Travis very much, he was the first person i met in the U.S. as a young boy, and his smile and humor will never leave my heart. 

Caronontexss3
Caronontexss3

Please let this be a story about his life, not his death. He was an award winning chef in the city of Dallas. We love and will miss him greatly. See you in Heaven bubba. Your little sis.

Rodneyz Stanky Feetz
Rodneyz Stanky Feetz

Its tragic, but I can't blame the officer. You can't treat a loaded weapon pointed in your general direction as anything but an immediate threat to your life, even if it may not necessarily be. A lot of good  people have died giving the weapon holder a fraction of a second of reasonable doubt about his intentions, his capacity for accurate aim, the power of the weapon, the type of ammunition, the distance from the target, etc. You can try to work all those variables out in your head, but occasionally, you die before you have it all figured out. 

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Dear Rod the pointed gun was a lie and all trhe other things that was said about it was a lie. One officer said he reached for a gun, one said he pointed a gun, the other said he banished a gun. All, lies he got out of the car because he was ordered to do so. And he had a license to carry a gun. He had a very small hand gun that could not kill anyone or anything. nless he stuch it in your mouth. So he was shot with an assult gun. Good God man you do not go bird hunting with a tank. And Travis was there to pray as he told me  so on the cell phone. He was casing no one any harm, had not had a confrontation with anyone. Just sitting there to pray. Wow, what an out law. What a crock and by the way I hate you too, brecause you are going on lies and not facts. Open your head and brain before something like this happens to you or one of your family members, when some swat team just wants a target practist.

Caron Henderson Williams
Caron Henderson Williams

I'm trying not to read these blogs but, BigD,  No matter who, what, where, when...... My brother, Travis Henderson was and I quote "was shot to death by Dallas SWAT officer Samuel McDonnold"!  The officer was a swat member dressed in full body amour but I guess he did fear for his own safety from a small hand gun because that is what he said?  Bottom line, my brother is dead and he was shot to death by Dallas SWAT officer Samuel McDonnold ... The end.  

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Well I for one will HATE Samual McDonnoil, for the rest of my life. I would like to talk to you because you are a coward. You were covered by a bullet proof vest and all manner of protection My loving son was in a very thin shirt. You were called out to help him not to kill him. He was depressed a was on his way to see me his Mother after he went by the Church to pray. What were you there for? I know to kill, and murder my son. Shame on you that little hand gun could have not hurt you not to mention kill you. You will have to live with that for the rest of your life and i know the miserable time you will have with it. As you shot a good father,friend, son and brother down when he was praying. You rot in hell but that will come soon enough. For now you have to live with what you did. I hope you end up in Jail as you should for the rest of your natural life.

Travis' Mother

Euntersee
Euntersee

Connie!!!!  Please,Please!!!!  Please do not let your anger and hatred define your life.  I can not imagine ANY son wanting a mother to live like that.  Travis was a good person and would not want  you to be living in such misery, hatered and depression  He has children that you to help them remember the best of him.  It is not about what people say....It is about the legacy that is left for his children.  I beg you to please find it in yourself, as a loved one. to do everything possible to help his children to accept it and forgive  so hey can move forward with their  lives.

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

I did try that but I kept getting people saying things that are untrue. I am saying he was there to pray. Why were the cops there? You do not know all the story but as I said before I do and so does God. And by the way I will stick up for my son and when he was wrong growing up I would also tell him so. He told me he was going to the Church to pray, that is what you and all the others need to know. He did not deserve what he got. It is God's to forgive not me. I do not have the power to forgive or change on hair on your head or anyone elses. I only want the truth out. Now there were three storys told to the press about Travis and the bun, he was waving it around, he pointed it at an officer, and he reached inside the car to get it. Which story was true. You do not know and I do not know but God does and he was watching. So I pray that justice will be heard for my Son.  Sorry  but you are picking on the wrong Mom. I love my Son, and he was a born again Christian.

Caron Henderson Williams
Caron Henderson Williams

This is Caron & Travis's mother, and I thank you for reminding me of my place and what Travis would want me to do.  God Bless You and will Pray and try not to hate.  I know Travis would not want me to feel misery like you said.  I feel there was never 2 people as closed as we were.  He was on his way to see me in Wichita Falls after he went to pray at the chuch that night that was accross the street his home and on his way to Wichita Falls. The gun to which he had a license to carry was in his car because he was bringing it to leave with me. Thanks you again, Tavis Dee Henderson, II.'s mother. 

CaronHenderson
CaronHenderson

I love and will miss you bubba! R.I.P., Your sis!

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

God forbid you ever need them.  It's always a-holes like you that bash the cops......you try, and put your life on the line every night.  

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Putting your life on the line in a Donut shop I think not. And that sure does not give you the right to kill a Man that was not doing anything but seting at a church to pray. You are out of your mind. I see you lazy lazy bum.

Mredmond
Mredmond

Your right! God forbid you need them, cause their never F***king around when you need them.

BigD
BigD

The manner in which this story is framed by Mr. Reitz is disgusting. The Observer should be ashamed that one of its writers says a member of Dallas SWAT "shot to death" Travis Henderson while downplaying Mr. Henderson's reckless behavior by saying he simply "brandishing a handgun." The truth is Mr. Henderson pointed the gun at officers and one of them fired because he feared for his safety. It's an unfortunate situation, but the SWAT officer made the right decision. 

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

Funny that you'd quote the words "brandishing a handgun."

That's exactly how the SWAT officer's press people framed things in the official release.

"After a period of time Mr. Henderson exited the vehicle brandishing a handgun."

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

The officer that shot Travis said that Travis "pointed a gun at him", now which story do we believe. Bandishing or point. And in that case of bandishing he could have been taken down with  a nother way that would have not killed him that very moment. How long should one take before killing someone. Travis was ordered several times to get out of his car and as soon as he got out he was shot in the chest dead center heart. The police did not have to kill him could have shot him in the leg or shot him with a tazer gun. Come on people where did all the Christians go. Where are the people that care about mankind, and the life that God gave us. It should not be snuffed out because of a bunch of lies made up by the police, that stick together. Dead men cannot talk or tell.

Mother

BigD
BigD

Oh, and there's that minor detail that other news outlets are reporting Mr. Henderson actually pointed his gun at officers. But I guess we can just leave that part out too and say the SWAT officer shot him to death. 

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Travis was married to a slug for 9 months that ran him crazy to the point he no longer wanted to live and he told me. Yes, I might need help from God to help me forgive people like you Truthtellertx, why don't you give your real name, like the rest of us.I feel you are related to Debbie, her last husband before Travis lasted 6 months after marring that black widow. So if you want to tell the truth get your facts.I am nuts with grief and sorry that there was no reason to have to kill my Son. Rubber bullet, tazer, tear gas, anything but killing him. And the guy that shot Travi at the church less than 15 min. By the way he had a wonderful lovely childhood, in a small town where people care about each other. Bever Cleaver town. I think I might hate you as much as the cops. And it is usually the nut that thinks others need psychiatric help.

Truthtellertx
Truthtellertx

Those of us close to him tried to help him.  Unfortunatley he would not take our help.  We could not legally keep him in the hospital.  You can not help someone who won't take the first step.

Euntersee
Euntersee

     Well.....I assume that  you knew Travis intimately if you are going discuss his  "deep seeded demons from his past" and that you witnessed his depression in person.....WHY THE HELL did you not help him????!!!!!    

Truthtellertx
Truthtellertx

People tried to save your son three times in the past six months obviously there were some deep seeded demons from his childhood that he was unable to overcome.  Travis did not want to live and stated so many times.  Police tried to reason with your son for several hours trying to save his life.  I suggest you get psychiatric help.

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

Never send the police to help someone, because the someone will not be helped they will be shot down in cold blood MURDER, by a triger happy, slap on the back as a good ol boy by all his cop friends. Travis should have not been shot and murdered in that manner when his life could have been saved if there was just one cop there that night with his head and heart in the right place. Yes, go for it kill him we will make up all kind of stories to make you look good because all cops stick together and would lie for each other and never tell the truth, The only witness you shot to death, The dead can not talk. But our Lord can and will. All of the lires will one day be dealt with. You will pay the price for what you did. Hell, is not hot enough for you. Have a good day.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 bran·dish/ˈbrandiSH/Verb:Wave or flourish (something, esp. a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement.

BigD
BigD

Yes, and a Dallas police spokesman also stated that the SWAT officer who fired the fatal shot did so because he feared for his life, yet you conveniently left that out of your piece. Tell the whole story, Mr. Reitz. 

Carl
Carl

Yeah - because you knew what was in the cop's head when he squeezed the trigger.  And, you were there, so you saw him point the gun at the cops - no, well, then where did you get all of your "facts"?  Oh yeah, from the guys still alive that relayed that info to the press.  Pretty convenient - SWATs always right - and, the dead guy gets what he had coming to him.

BigD
BigD

So the correct assumption is that SWAT was in the wrong? Let's attack the men and women who have dedicated their lives to making our city safer while giving the benefit of the doubt to the crazy guy waving a gun around in a church parking lot. Pathetic. 

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

First off Travis was not crazy he was depressed, God help it never happens to you. He was there to pray before he took a two hour drive to go see his Mother. He had a small gun he always carried because of the business he was in and the money he carried. He also had a licences for years to carry a gun .But I can tell you he never shot one person even when someone robed him. See, he was that kind of guy. He was at the Church to pray. He told me at 5:45 PM, he was going by the church to pray before his trip to see me. Se we get shot and killed because we were praying or because we was carring a samll pea shooter. Big , you are the one that is pathetic, and do not care about your Christian Man. This kind of jump the cop shootings happen every day even children are shot. WHY? You tell me big boy with big mouth. Think and know before you speak. Know what you are talking about.Because you sure do not know here.

Euntersee
Euntersee

Seriously????  Are you drunk???

Euntersee
Euntersee

LMAO!!  Well..."sir" should be capilalized just to begin with....Should I go on????

Conniemarieintx
Conniemarieintx

You SOB he had a licenses to carry a gun. You guys were looking for a kill. Why not go hunting a Deer and not a Dear. Travis had friends, Family, and children. He was there to pray. You were there to kill. Now who is right and who is wrong. Travis was well liked by all who knew him.

Travis' Mother

Frederick
Frederick

Yeah, it's like attempting to reason with a three year old.

BigD
BigD

In all fairness, there's a mistake in the wording of my first post. How 'bout you and Carl see who can find it first. 

gooderisbetter
gooderisbetter

Just when I thought you were going to make a cogent, lucid reply....you had to go and waste it on the appealing to grammar fallacy. 

BigD
BigD

If I understand you correctly, you would like to see an investigation launched to determine if Mr. Henderson actually pointed his gun at officers, but you want this criminal investigation conducted by some group other than law enforcement officers and criminal investigators because those "folks wear badges" and we can't "take their word for it." So who would you like to conduct your little investigation, Carl? 

My thinking cap is on, sir. Judging from your lack of proper punctuation, sentence structure, and logic, you haven't sported a thinking cap for quite some time. 

Carl
Carl

Sorry - you're right - because these folks wear badges, we should go ahead and take their word for it.  Now, he's waiving the gun around a church parking lot.  Let's ask Travis if he was waiving a gun around a church parking lot - oh yeah, we can't - because he's dead - pathetic indeed.  How about we don't make any assumptions and hope this gets properly investigated?  No, that would require BigD to put on his thinking cap, and he or she would rather be told what to think by the cops and the local press.

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