ut tower shooting

It’s the day Charles Whitman, after killing his mother and wife, took to The University of Texas Tower and gunned down 14 people. [7]:39, Beneath the stairwell leading to the reception area, Martinez found Marguerite Lamport, Mark Gabour,[34] Mary Gabour, and Mike Gabour. McCoy, one of the Austin police officers who killed University of Texas Tower sniper Charles Whitman on Aug. 1 1966, was being interviewed on … People on a rooftop attempting to shoot at Whitman. Passerby Rita Starpattern lay next to Wilson, and for an hour comforted her and kept her conscious. Across the street he saw a 17-year-old newspaper boy being dragged and went to break up what he thought was a fight. Smoke rising from sniper Charles Joseph Whitman's gun as he fires from the clock tower of the University of Texas at Austin, August 1, 1966. Just weeks before the event in Austin, Richard Speck killed eight female nursing students in a Chicago town house. But when a shooter took aim at the University of Texas of Austin campus from the top of the UT tower on August 1, 1966, no one had any reference point for such an attack. To hear directly from Dr. Bush on the UT tower shooting, check out the following video (starting at 20 minutes 08 seconds). After 23 years, the University of … They returned inside, where a guard told them it was safe to leave again. Whitman, firing from the 28th-story observation deck of the UT tower, shot more than 40 people in 93 minutes. On August 1, 1966, after stabbing his mother and his wife to death the night before, Charles Whitman, a former Marine, took rifles and other weapons to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at the University of Texas at Austin, then opened fire indiscriminately on people on the surrounding campus and streets. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history, List of school shootings in the United States, List of rampage killers (school massacres), "The Evil Brain: What Lurks Inside a Killer's Mind", "Gun Violence And Mental Health Laws, 50 Years After Texas Tower Sniper", "Experts still disagree on role of Tower shooter's brain tumor", "Shootings Recall Horror at University of Texas", "Whtiman's losing battle against hate, cruelty", http://features.texasmonthly.com/editorial/the-reckoning/, "Survivor of Texas tower shooting recalls terror", "Armed civilian helped stop UT Tower sniper", "Fifty years after the first campus massacre, a question lingers: Who killed the killer? At over 500 yards, he was the victim farthest from the tower. About 100 yards from the tower Harvey was shot in the hip; Evganides was struck in the left leg by the ricochet of the same shot. That day was August 1st, 1966. Inside the tower, he accompanied Department of Public Safety Agent Dub Cowan and Austin Police Officer Jerry Day up the elevator; Cowan provided Crum with a rifle. [30] In Austin he met and married (August 1962) another student, Kathleen Leissner. The UT Tower Shooting Aug. 1, 1966 is a day that many will never forget. UT Tower shooting claims one more life: Nov. 11, 2001 Bruce Hight UT Tower Tragedy quietly fades into history: Aug. 2, 2001 Maeve Reston Public healing cannot erase private grief: June 13, 2001 Susan Smith UT Tower hero can’t forget: Oct. 25, 1999 Bob Banta UT reclaims its tower, after 25 years The UT tower shooting lasted for approximately 96 terrifying minutes. The former Marine sharpshooter took 15 lives during that attack and left many others gravely wounded. Martinez started up the stairs to the observation deck, and Crum insisted on covering him, asking Martinez to deputize him first. The 11,700 pound granite stone is the new UT Tower shooting memorial. [L]:289 After a stainless steel lattice and other security features were installed, it was again reopened in 1999, but only to by-appointment guided tours, and all visitors are screened by metal detectors. It has been suggested that Whitman's violent impulses, with which he had been struggling for several years, were caused by a tumor found in the white matter above his amygdala upon autopsy. The psychiatrist advised Whitman to return for further counseling. Entering the Main Building, Whitman found the elevator did not work. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Harvey and Evganides were leaving the tower for lunch when they heard shots. • Peter Bogdanovich's 1968 film Targets features a character based on Whitman. He died soon after at the hospital. There he distinguished himself enough to earn a military scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the University of Texas while still on active duty, matriculating in September 1961. I had just sat down to have my lunch in the hospital cafeteria which was located on the ground floor of the hospital. After qualifying as a sharpshooter in boot camp, he served an 18-month stint at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba, where he earned an appointment to officer training school in Bainbridge, Maryland. Learning the boy had been shot, and hearing more shots, Crum rerouted street traffic out of harm's way. At some point, Crum accidentally fired his rifle. [6], Whitman killed his mother, Margaret Whitman, and his wife, Kathleen Leissner Whitman,[7]:53[8] between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on August 1. Across the nation, police departments reviewed their preparedness, training, and capabilities to effectively respond to such situations. Over the next 96 minutes he shot and killed 14 people (including an unborn child) and injured 31 others. [39] The tower's clock was stopped for 24 hours beginning at 11:48 a.m.[40] McCoy and Day reached the observation deck a few minutes later. He never did. He also complained of headaches (an autopsy would reveal that he had a brain tumour about the size of pecan). Foster and Frede were wounded in the crossfire between Whitman and those shooting from the ground. Having visited several university doctors in 1965 and been prescribed a variety of medications, in March 1966 Whitman expressed his concern during a visit to a psychiatrist at the university health center. Della and Marina Martinez, visiting from Monterrey, Mexico, were both wounded by bullet fragments. About 11:55 am Gunby was returning to the library for a forgotten book when a shot passed through his upper left arm and entered his abdomen, severing his small intestine. After shots are fired, there would be an influx of 9-1-1 calls. At 1:24 p.m., he … Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. [41], In 2008, the following names of persons who helped stop Whitman were added to a plaque on an Austin police precinct building:[42], In 2014, Claire Wilson's stillborn son received a tombstone in Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, after his grave was rediscovered by Gary Lavergne. Footage includes graphic scenes of victims being rescued, pedestrians taking cover from sniper fire, the tower itself suffering damage from gun fire, and images of Charles Whitman's arsenal of weapons. [13]:28, At approximately 11:25 a.m.,[7]:31 Whitman reached the University of Texas at Austin, where he showed false research assistant identification to obtain a parking permit. After leaving her husband, Whitman’s mother moved to Austin in spring 1966 to be near Whitman. From left: Allen Crum, Austin police officer Ramiro Martinez, Houston McCoy, and Jerry Day. Mike Gabour gestured to the observation deck, saying: "He's out there."[7]:39. The UT Tower Shooting On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas Tower with three rifles, two pistols, and a sawed-off shotgun. Charles Joseph Whitman (the inclusion of his middle name in much of the reporting from the period echoed earlier references to John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and presaged references to later high-profile killers) grew up in Lake Worth, Florida, as the eldest of three sons of an overbearing plumbing contractor father and a devout Roman Catholic mother. https://www.britannica.com/event/Texas-Tower-shooting-of-1966, Texas State Historical Association - Handbook of Texas Online - University of Texas Tower Shooting (1996). In August 2014, McAlister — along with Claire Wilson James, Forrest Preece, James Bryce, Artly Snuff, Cyndi Taylor Krier, Clif Drummond and Hannah Whisenant — formed the Tower Memorial Enhancement Group. The act of reclaiming her history would come afterward in fits and starts, beginning one summer night in 2001, when Claire sat at her computer and used a search engine for the very first time, carefully typing out the words “UT Tower Shooting.” Around 1:24 pm, while Whitman was looking south for the source of the rifle shot, Martinez and McCoy rounded the northeastern corner of the observation deck. [L]:126 There he encountered receptionist Edna Townsley. The incident was one of the worst mass murders in a public area in the history of the United States and the first to unfold “live” in the era of mass media. About noon, Walchuk was leaving a magazine store on Guadalupe when he was shot in the chest. Ambulances from local funeral homes and an armored car were used to reach the wounded.[20]. The various bullet holes were repaired and the tower was reopened in 1968. ", https://www.anyoldkindofday.com/index.php/Sniper, https://www.jenniferjolley.com/the-eyes-of-the-world, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies, Center for Community College Student Engagement, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The William P. Clements Jr. Center for National Security, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=University_of_Texas_tower_shooting&oldid=1000031356, University and college shootings in the United States, Violence against women in the United States, Articles with trivia sections from September 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Perpetrator's mother and wife, students at the University of Texas, 18 (16 at the school, including Whitman, an unborn child and Gunby who died in 2001), Whitman knocked Townsley to the floor and split the back of her skull with his rifle butt, then struck her above the left eye before dragging her behind a couch. An autopsy conducted after his death revealed a hypothalamic tumor. [35][36], In 2006, a Memorial Garden was dedicated to those who died or were otherwise affected. At the time, UT did nothing to acknowledge the horrors of that day. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Allen was looking at the tower through a window of the Student Union when a bullet struck the window, followed by a second shot which severed an artery in his right forearm. Schmidt took cover with others behind his car some 500 yards from the tower, but after about 30 minutes stood up in the belief they were out of range, and was immediately shot in the abdomen. | Jacob Villanueva ‘A guy’s up there’ Crum was no ordinary citizen. In 2001, he died one week after discontinuing dialysis. On the day of the UT Tower shooting– August 1, 1966– I was employed at St. David's Hospital, located at 900 East 32nd. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Discharged from the Marines in December 1964, he returned to the University of Texas in 1965, this time to study architectural engineering. Mattson, Ehlke, and Herman were walking to lunch when a bullet blew off part of Mattson's wrist. Whitman struggled with gambling and bad grades, and he lost his scholarship in 1963. At the time, the attack was the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history, being surpassed 18 years later by the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre. [12], Whitman then packed into his footlocker a Remington 700 6-mm bolt-action hunting rifle, a .35-caliber pump rifle, the M1 carbine, a 9-mm Luger pistol, a Galesi-Brescia .25-caliber pistol, a Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolver, the shotgun, of which he had sawn off the barrel and buttstock, as well as more than 700 rounds of ammunition. He assumed he would find a team of officers there, but when he reached the 27th floor, he found only Cowan, Crum, and Day. Jeff Wallenfeldt, manager of Geography and History, has worked as an editor at Encyclopaedia Britannica since 1992. Four minutes after Whitman began shooting from the tower, a history professor was the first to telephone the Austin Police Department, at 11:52 am. [7]:31 He put khaki coveralls on over his shirt and jeans. As. [10], Later that morning, Whitman rented a hand truck and cashed $250 (equivalent to $2,000 in 2019) worth of bad checks at a bank. McCoy fired again, hitting Whitman on his left side. A shot struck Avelino's left arm near the shoulder, shattering the bone. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Martinez reached the observation deck first. At 12:08 pm Speed was with another officer and others behind decorative balusters on the South Mall when he was shot through a gap in the masonry. Royvela and Garcia, his girlfriend, were shot near Hogg Auditorium. Texas Tower shooting of 1966, also called University of Texas clock tower shooting, mass shooting in Austin, Texas, on August 1, 1966, in which Charles Whitman, a student and ex- Marine, fired down from the clock tower on the campus of the University of Texas, killing 14 people and wounding 31 others (one of whom died years later from complications related to his wounds). Hernandez was shot in the leg around 11:45 am while delivering newspapers on his bicycle near the West Mall entrance. The UT tower shooting was the first mass shooting at an American college campus. Secretary. The incident ended when a policeman and a civilian reached Whitman and shot him dead. TOWER, a documentary mixing animation and live-action, is the story of America's first mass school shooting, at the University of Texas, Austin, 1966. [15], Some mistook the sound of shots for the noise from a nearby construction site,[9] or thought that persons falling to the ground were part of a theater group[24] or an anti-war protest. [1], Charles Whitman, 25,[2] was studying architectural engineering. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Allen Crum was working at the University Co-Op when Charles Whitman began shooting from the UT Tower hundreds of feet away. Director Keith Maitland tells the story using animation spliced with news photographs and footage, radio clips and testimonials provided chiefly by eight survivors. [9] In a note he professed his love for both women, saying he had killed them to spare them future humiliation and—in the case of his mother—suffering. [15], Wilson was the first person Whitman shot from the tower. His brother and uncle dragged him to safety. Adorned with a single crucifix, it reads "Baby Boy Wilson / August 1, 1966".[43]. At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. The majority of the clips on this silent reel were filmed by Gordon Wilkison and Neal Spelce during the UT Tower shooting on August 1, 1966. [31], Officers attempting to reach the tower were forced to move slowly and take cover often, but a small group of officers including Houston McCoy began making their way to the tower via underground maintenance tunnels. Rutt and her boyfriend Sonntag had just run into Wheeler, a friend, when they heard shots. The day was declared by the City of Austin as "Ramiro Martinez Day". An employee named Vera Palmer activated it for him; Whitman thanked Palmer, stating, "Thank you ma'am",[14] before repeatedly saying: "You don't know how happy that makes me."[7]:32. [7]:38, Martinez, Crum, and Day searched the 27th floor, where they found M. J. Gabour; Day removed him. Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Wilson was shot in the chest on Guadalupe Street. He then climbed to the 28th floor of the UT tower, killing three people within the tower, and opened fire from the observation deck with a hunting rifle and other weapons. Whitman shot through the six-inch space between the columns of the wall and killed Speed. His death was officially ruled a homicide. [L]:124, 214-5[34], Martinez and McCoy were awarded Medals of Valor by the city of Austin. [13]:29 Whitman, like his mother (who was physically abused by her husband), suffered greatly under his domineering, explosive father. In 1966, on a hot Texas summer afternoon, ex-Marine sharpshooter Charles Whitman, 25, boarded an elevator in the University of Texas Tower with a cache of weapons, intent on deadly mayhem. One victim recalled that as she lay bleeding a passerby reprimanded her and told her to "Get up. Three rifles, one shotgun … Soon after, Griffith was shot in the shoulder and chest and her right lung was pierced; she died seven days later. Tower shooting 07:34. Even before the 1966 UT tower shooting, the Hogg Foundation sought to broaden the conversation beyond “mental illness” in the clinical sense, using its stature to address larger questions of trauma, tragedy and injustice. [4], In the months prior to the attack, Whitman had sought professional help for "overwhelming, violent impulses",[3] including fantasies about shooting people from the tower. On August 1, 1966, a twenty-five year old University of Texas student named Charles Whitman went up to the observation deck of the UT tower armed with guns, ammunition, and canned food. Martinez grabbed McCoy's shotgun, ran to Whitman's prone body, and fired a direct shotgun blast into deceased Whitman's left arm. [7]:32 At a gun shop he purchased four more carbine magazines, six additional boxes of ammunition, and a can of gun cleaning solvent. Texas Tower shooting of 1966 The site of the Texas Tower shooting of 1966, showing the locations of the victims when they were shot. As Eckman went to her aid he was shot in the chest and died instantly. The Littlefields, married nine days, were leaving the tower when Brenda was shot in the hip; Adrian was struck in the back as he bent over her. According to a July 1989 report in the Orlando Sentinel, a Dallas-area collector, Wayne Buxton, was trying to sell the seven guns that Whitman used at the tower. Martinez jumped out and fired in the direction of Whitman, missing with all of his revolver shots. At approximately 11:35 a.m., Whitman arrived on the University of Texas at Austin campus. [11] At Sears he purchased a Sears Model 60 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun before returning home. [27] Unable to make his way back to the store safely, he then made his way to the tower, where he offered to help the police. "[25] [15][18] Wilson remained hospitalized for three months. In the immediate aftermath, Martinez was nearly shot himself by those on the ground, who did not yet realize that Whitman was dead. Omissions? Karr was hit in the spine while coming to Griffith's aid; he died approximately one hour later. The older Whitman, a fervid gun lover, did, however, take great pride in the precocious expert marksmanship of his eldest son, who was taught from a very early age how to shoot. "In the summer of 1966, America lost its innocence when two mass murders were committed. Many sources identify the Texas Tower shooting as the first mass murder in American history, but some academics and researchers have argued that dozens of such shootings took place in the United States between the beginning of the 20th century and Whitman’s rampage. Corrections? Whitman killed 14 people that day and wounded more than 30. Heard, a press reporter and veteran Marine, was shot in the arm. The University of Texas Tower Shooting, one of the worst mass murders in American history, took place on August 1, 1966, on and around the University of Texas at Austin (UT) campus when Charles J. Whitman, an enrolled student, took control of the observation deck of the iconic Tower and fired various weapons onto the campus and its surrounding business district. He later recalled, "I laid there for about forty to forty-five minutes. Poor grades resulted in Whitman’s recall to active duty as an enlisted man in February 1963. She and Eckman were leaving the Student Union when Wilson, eight months pregnant, was shot in the abdomen at 11:47 am; her baby was killed. A man perched atop the University of Texas Clock Tower began firing on the … As he looked for a way into the tower, a student offered to help, saying he had a rifle at home. This event was the most violent university shooting until … [17] Eventually James Love, John "Artly" Fox and others left their protected location (while Whitman was still shooting) and carried Wilson to safety and also retrieved Eckman's body. ", "Shooting brings back memories of 1966 UT Tower killings for officer who stopped gunman", "Nearly 50 years ago, bravery at a UT tower", "Austin Police officer Ramiro Martinez remembers feeling sense of duty to stop Whitman", "How the 1966 Tower sniper attack fueled debate over campus carry at UT", "University of Texas to Reopen Clock Tower Closed After Suicides", "University unveils redesign plans for Tower Garden Memorial", "University Of Texas Tower Sniper Recalled", "University of Texas adds memorial on 50th anniversary of tower shooting", "UT-Austin remembers tower shooting 50 years ago", "50 years later, debate remains over who killed UT shooter Charles Whitman", "After 48 Years, Unborn Victim of UT Tower Massacre Gets Headstone", "Evoking Charles Whitman: The UT Tower Shooting in Film", "The documentary that tells the story of America's first mass school shooting", "Former Police Officer Sues Over Tower Sniper Movie", "COLUMN ONE : Massacre and Myth in Texas: One man ended Charles Whitman's coldblooded Austin slaughter. McCoy drove the student to his home to retrieve the rifle. He then drove to a hardware store, where he purchased a .30 caliber Universal M1 carbine, two additional ammunition magazines, and eight boxes of ammunition, telling the cashier he planned to hunt wild hogs. One final victim died from his injuries in 2001. Four men who were at the UT Tower shooting met with the news media in Austin on August 2, 1966. Officer McCoy has since died. [5] For 96 minutes he held the campus in a state of terror. Snowden, believing himself out of range, was struck in the shoulder while standing in a barbershop doorway. [L]:135, Mike Gabour's injuries left him unable to complete his Air Force training, and Mary Frances was left paralyzed from the neck down and legally blind. Hohman was using his business' ambulance to take victims to the hospital when he was shot in his right leg at the corner of 23rd and Guadalupe. At 11:48 a.m. Whitman began shooting from the observation deck 231 feet (70 m) above the ground, Boyer, the third person shot from the tower, was struck in the lower back. He told Crum to remain at the door. Khashab, an exchange student from Iraq, and Paulos, his fiancée, were shot near Guadalupe and 24th St. Phillips believed she was out of range but was shot in the shoulder. The sniper inflicted 15 fatal wounds and injured more than 30 people before Austin police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy reached the observation deck and put a stop to the attack. Was it the hero of legend, or a second officer in the tower, who says that he fired the crucial shots? [15] Whitman then shot Townsley in the head before exiting to the observation deck. [L]:19 While at UT, Whitman met and married his wife, Kathleen. 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