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45th Anniversary of UT Shooting Marked With Dedication Ceremony

Photo for KUT News
Today is the 45th anniversary of the Texas Tower shootings. The Austin Police Association is dedicating a hall in their new facilities to the people who helped that day.

The Austin Police Association is holding a ceremony to dedicate a hall in their new facility to the people who worked to restore safety during the Texas Tower shooting. Today is the 45th anniversary of the shooting.

The shooter, Charles Whitman, was a student at the University of Texas. A former Marine who grew up with an abusive father, he admitted to killing his mother and his wife in a suicide note.

The next day, Whitman began shooting people from the top of the Texas Tower with a sniper rifle. He climbed up to the top of the tower with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, water and food supplies.

Twenty people, including Whitman, were killed and 31 more were injured.  You can see a newscast from that day with interviews of witnesses and live footage of the tower.

According to this DiscoveryTV documentary, Whitman asked for his body to be autopsied to explain his actions. Doctors found he had a brain tumor near his amygdala, the center for impulse control and emotional reactions.

The police association says the hall is to honor many people who risked their lives the day of the shooting. But Speed, Martinez, McCoy Hall is named after three officers in particular.   Billy Speed was a police officer who was killed by Whitman.  Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy are the two officers credited with killing Whitman.

Kelsey Sheridan is a news intern at KUT. She currently studies religion and journalism at Northwestern University.
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