This Day in Texas History: Gunman Fires on UT Students

This Day in Texas History:

Gunman Fires on UT Students

August 01, 1966

August 12 1966 LIFE Cover
August 12 1966 LIFE Cover

On this date in 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman began a killing rampage that left seventeen dead and thirty-one wounded in one of the worst mass murders in modern United States history.

Whitman first killed his mother in her apartment and his wife in their residence. He then went to the tower on the University of Texas campus where he clubbed a receptionist, who later died, then killed two other people and wounded two more.

Gaining the observation deck at an elevation of 231 feet he began firing on persons crossing the campus and others on nearby streets, killing ten and wounding thirty-one (one died a week later).

Police returned his fire from the ground while police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy gained the observation deck, where they shot and killed Whitman. An autopsy revealed a tumor in Whitman’s head but medical authorities disagreed over its effect on his actions.

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