Across the nation, police departments reviewed their preparedness, training, and capabilities to effectively respond to such situations. The various bullet holes were repaired and the tower was reopened in 1968. Officers and several civilians provided suppressive fire from the ground with small weapons and hunting rifles, forcing Whitman to stay low and fire through storm drains at the foot of the observation deck's wall. At over 500 yards, he was the victim farthest from the tower. Was it the hero of legend, or a second officer in the tower, who says that he fired the crucial shots? 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. I had just sat down to have my lunch in the hospital cafeteria which was located on the ground floor of the hospital. [11] At Sears he purchased a Sears Model 60 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun before returning home. People on a rooftop attempting to shoot at Whitman. Rutt and her boyfriend Sonntag had just run into Wheeler, a friend, when they heard shots. 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. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Director Keith Maitland tells the story using animation spliced with news photographs and footage, radio clips and testimonials provided chiefly by eight survivors. Ambulances from local funeral homes and an armored car were used to reach the wounded.[20]. Karr was hit in the spine while coming to Griffith's aid; he died approximately one hour later. [L]:124, 214-5[34], Martinez and McCoy were awarded Medals of Valor by the city of Austin. [L]:19 While at UT, Whitman met and married his wife, Kathleen. [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. 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. 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? Tower shooting 07:34. About noon, Walchuk was leaving a magazine store on Guadalupe when he was shot in the chest. 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. Hernandez was shot in the leg around 11:45 am while delivering newspapers on his bicycle near the West Mall entrance. In perfect view of the tower above. 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. [15][19], During surgery it was discovered that Gunby had only one functioning kidney to begin with, which had now been severely damaged; he was in great pain for the rest of his life. • Peter Bogdanovich's 1968 film Targets features a character based on Whitman. [7]:38, Martinez, Crum, and Day searched the 27th floor, where they found M. J. Gabour; Day removed him. Snowden, believing himself out of range, was struck in the shoulder while standing in a barbershop doorway. 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 On the day of the UT Tower shooting– August 1, 1966– I was employed at St. David's Hospital, located at 900 East 32nd. Allen Crum was working at the University Co-Op when Charles Whitman began shooting from the UT Tower hundreds of feet away. 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. Officer McCoy has since died. 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