texas tower sniper

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At midnight on July 31st, 1966, Charles Whitman drove to his mother’s house and stabbed her in the chest before shooting her in the back of her head. He then went home and stabbed his wife as she slept. At 11:48 the next morning he packed seven various guns, three knives and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. At the The Texas Tower, in the University of Texas, Whitman killed two and wounded several others. He barricaded himself in the tower and from there, shooting like a sniper for 96 minutes in total, he killed 11 people on the campus grounds, wounding almost 30 others. 

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Tower (2016) is a documentary about the Texas Tower Sniper, and the events of August 1st, 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin. Using archival footage and rotoscopic animation, Tower tells the story of America’s first mass school shooting, which claimed the lives of 16, and wounded 31. Fifty years later, it’s quite jarring to see that nothing has changed, and school shootings have become almost commonplace.


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Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – August 1, 1966) was an American mass murderer who became infamous as the “Texas Tower Sniper”. On August 1, 1966, he murdered his mother and wife in their homes, then went to the University of Texas at Austin where he shot and killed three people inside the university’s tower. He then went to the tower’s 28th-floor observation deck, where he fired at random for some 95 minutes, killing sixteen people and wounding thirty-one before being shot and killed by police.

A victim of sniper Charles Whitman is placed into a waiting ambulance during the shooting spree at the University of Texas in Austin, Aug. 2, 1966. Until the carnage at Virginia Tech Monday, April 16, 2007, the Aug. 1, 1966, the sniper rampage by Charles Whitman from the Austin school’s landmark 307-foot tower had remained the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.

Weapons and equipment found on Texas Tower Sniper, Charles Whitman.

  • 12 gauge shotgun
  • Remington 700 with 4x Leupold Scope
  • 6 millimeter Remington rifle
  • M1 Carbine 
  • .357 Magnum
  • Galesi-Brescia pistol
  • Luger pistol
  • Nesco machete, scabbard
  • hatchet
  • Ammunition box with gun-cleaning kit
  • Camillus hunting knife, scabbard
  • Randall knife inscribed with name
  • Locking pocketknife
  • 1’ steel rebar
  • Hunter’s body bag
  • Whitman’s gear
  • Channel Master 14 transistor radio
  • Blank Robinson notebook
  • Black Papermate pen
  • light green towel
  • White 3.5 gallon jug full of water
  • Red 3.5 gallon jug of gasoline
  • Nylon and cotton ropes, and clothesline
  • 1954 Nabisco premium toy compass
  • Davis Hardware receipt
  • Hammer
  • Canteen
  • Binoculars
  • Lighter fluid, lighter and box of matches
  • Alarm clock manufactured by Gene
  • Pipe wrench
  • Green and white flashlight, 4 C batteries
  • Two rolls of tape
  • Green duffel bag from the Marine Corps
  • Extension cord
  • Grey gloves
  • Eyeglasses
  • Earplugs
  • Mennen spray deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Food
  • Twelve cans of food
  • Two cans of Sego condensed milk
  • Bread, honey and SPAM (incl. sandwiches)
  • Planters Peanuts and raisins
  • Sweet rolls