Helping stop a tower sniper

Charles Joseph Whitman was a Marine and had been a student at the University of Texas at Austin. On August 1st, 1966, after killing his mother and wife with a knife, he went to the top of the University clock tower, which he used as a sniper’s perch. When it was over, he had shot and killed 14 people, and wounded 31 others before being shot by Austin police.

19660812-life-magazine

Ramiro Martinez, an officer credited with neutralizing Whitman’s threat, later stated in his book that the civilian shooters who came to the aid of police should be recognized, as they made it difficult for Whitman to take careful aim without being hit. The police at that time were armed with .38 caliber revolvers and shotguns, which were not effective at the ranges involved: The tower is 231 feet high, and Whitman was making shots out to 1,500 feet. Civilians armed with deer rifles were able to distract Whitman enough to allow law enforcement personnel to gain access to the tower, and eventually to kill Whitman.

Author: Greg Raven

Trained with Chuck Taylor. What else is there to know?