50 Years Later

Five decades after the UT Tower shooting, The Daily Texan remembers those involved in the 96 minutes that changed the University forever.

August 1, 2016

Illustration by Amber Perry

There is no University of Texas without the Tower shooting of 1966. Whether they know it or not, the students that have walked the campus have carried that history with them every day since. The massacre that occurred that summer day left a school, a city and a nation horrified and confused. Today, our students are more familiar with those emotions than the unsuspecting victims and witnesses Whitman left in his wake. Now, fifty years later, we cannot afford to forget the events that took place in those 96 minutes.

The Sniper

Experts still disagree on role of Tower shooter's brain tumor
Experts still disagree on role of Tower shooter's brain tumor

In the years following the shooting, experts have debated the affect a brain tumor had on his mental health.

Gun laws change in Texas since Whitman shooting
Gun laws change in Texas since Whitman shooting

On the morning of Aug 1, 1966, Charles Whitman purchased a shotgun, a carbine and 14 boxes of ammunition. How has the process of getting guns changed since then?

Play deprivation seen as one of the factors that led to UT tower shooting in 1966
Play deprivation seen as one of the factors that led to UT tower shooting in 1966

An in-depth study of Whitman's life finds his troubled relationship with his father to be a factor in the Tower shooting.

The Victims

Thomas Ashton

Robert Boyer

Thomas Eckman

Mark Gabour

Karen Griffith

David Gunby

Thomas Karr

Marguerite Lamport

Claudia Rutt

Roy Schmidt

Paul Sonntag

Billy Speed

Edna Townsley

Harry Walchuck

Kathy Whitman

Margaret Whitman

Baby Boy Wilson

Thomas Ashton

Robert Boyer

Thomas Eckman

Mark Gabour

Kathy Griffith

David Gunby

Thomas Karr

Marguerite Lamport

Claudia Rutt

Roy Schmidt

Paul Sonntag

Billy Speed

Edna Townsley

Harry Walchuck

Kathy Whitman

Margaret Whitman

Baby Boy Wilson

The Survivors

Roland Ehlke

Adrian Littlefield

Roland Ehlke

Adrian Littlefield

New memorial honors victims of UT Tower shooting

New memorial honors victims of UT Tower shooting

A boulder engraved with the names of Whitman's 17 victims will be unveiled at a ceremony on Monday. Read how the new memorial came to be.

The Heroes

50 years later, 1966 freshman remembers fallen friends, horrors of Tower shooting
50 years later, 1966 freshman remembers fallen friends, horrors of Tower shooting

“I remember seeing that white flag and the shots died down and people started coming out from under cover by the dozens, and then hundreds. But nobody said anything.”

Brackenridge Hospital: Locals come together in face of tragedy
Brackenridge Hospital: Locals come together in face of tragedy

On an uneventful Monday morning at Brackenridge Hospital, nurse Norma White sent her staff home early.

Civilian Allen Crum assisted in ending Tower shooting
Civilian Allen Crum assisted in ending Tower shooting

Co-op manager Allen Crum, along with APD officers, succeeded in stopping the sniper on top of the UT Tower.

Former APD officer Ramiro Martinez reflects on apprehending UT sniper
Former APD officer Ramiro Martinez reflects on apprehending UT sniper

“I had a very simple plan that day and it was to kill the sniper or be killed because I had to stop him from hurting other people.”

Officer who shot sniper remembered by daughter as a family man
Officer who shot sniper remembered by daughter as a family man

Houston McCoy, one of the Austin police officers who shot the sniper atop the University of Texas Tower fifty years ago, is remembered by his daughter as a humble man.

Inside the Tower

Austin History Center opens exhibit on UT Tower Shooting
Austin History Center opens exhibit on UT Tower Shooting

The authors of a new book outlining the history of the shooter and the events leading up to it discussed the investigative process.

‘A Sniper in the Tower’ author discusses Whitman’s motives, tragedy’s lasting impact
‘A Sniper in the Tower’ author discusses Whitman’s motives, tragedy’s lasting impact

With his book, A Sniper in the Tower, Gary Laverne provides a comprehensive account of Whitman's life and the mass murder that made him infamous.

‘Tower’ filmmakers shed light on humanity in moments of darkness
‘Tower’ filmmakers shed light on humanity in moments of darkness

Director Keith Maitland and his team spent six years collecting stories from witnesses and survivors of the UT Tower shooting.

The Texan

Fifty Years Later...
Fifty Years Later...

Five decades after the UT Tower Shooting, The Daily Texan remembers the most infamous tragedy in the University's history by republishing articles from past issues.

Former Texan reporters recall covering Whitman shooting
Former Texan reporters recall covering Whitman shooting

What started as a slow news day turned into one of the most important days in the school's history.

Media coverage of shootings evolves over past 50 years
Media coverage of shootings evolves over past 50 years

The morning after the 1966 UT Tower shooting — what is known today as one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history — The Austin American’s front-page headline read, “'Everyone’ Loved Him.”