Charles Whitman's University of Texas shooting went down in history as one of the bloodiest mass murders of the era. The incident took place on August 1, 1966, while the United States was in the midst of the Civil Rights movement and mass protests surrounding the war in Vietnam. Whitman had been a student at the University of Texas campus in Austin when he had a mental breakdown with deadly consequences. Sadly, other school shootings have taken place since, but an entire generation of baby boomers remember this as being one of the first.
Among the many chilling stories surrounding the University of Texas shooting is the fact that Whitman actually told his psychiatrist about his plan months beforehand. Other facts about Charles Whitman reveal issues surrounding his childhood, his abusive father, and his time as a Marine sharpshooter.
The "Texas Tower Sniper" will live on in infamy, as will the brutal acts of violence he committed.
Whitman's killing spree lasted for approximately 96 minutes, during which Whitman shot and killed a total of 17 people. He started everything off with the receptionist on the 27th floor observation deck of the tower and then continued his rampage by killing the unborn child of a pregnant student, a Peace Corps volunteer, an electrician, and numerous students. He also wounded 30 people.
Whitman had more than a few weapons in his footlocker, including a machete, three knives, seven guns, and over 700 rounds of ammunition. He also had a pair of binoculars, earplugs, a rope, and matches. For some reason, he had also packed deodorant, food, water, and toilet paper, as well as Dexedrine, an amphetamine that was used to treat ADHD, depression, and other disorders. He had a prescription for it at the time. As if the Dexedrine wasn't enough, he also had a bottle of Excedrine, an over the counter painkiller that contains caffeine.
On July 31, 1966, Whitman put his violent plan into action. He started off by writing a note requesting that his brain be studied after his death to see if he truly was mentally ill. Then, he went to his mother's home and killed her, stabbing and shooting her to death. Following this horrific act, he then murdered his wife with a knife. The next day, he called both of their employers stating that they were too sick to come into work, covering up his deeds and giving him the extra time he needed to put the next phase of his plan into action.
An off duty police sergeant named Ramiro Martinez, as well as a six-year-veteran, Houston McCoy, snuck into the tower on the University of Texas's campus with the goal of taking out Whitman, who was still shooting at people below. Together, the two of them shot Whitman to death, finally stopping his murderous rampage. However, officers on the ground couldn't tell if either of the two men were Whitman, so they kept firing up at the tower, almost hitting Martinez and McCoy.