Vol 8, No 213
August 1, 1966
16 Killed in UT shooting rampage
Shooting at UT
On this date in 1966, Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother, then climbed to the top of the tower at the University of Texas and starting shooting at the people below, killing 16 and wounding 30.
An autopsy of Whitman later revealed that he suffered from a brain tumor which may have accounted for his rampage. (For a list of his victims, Click Here.)
The administrator at Brackenridge hospital a few blocks away, declared an emergency, and staff rushed from all over the city to help with the victims. Lines at blood banks began to form as people gathered to do what they could to help.
Most of the victims were along Guadalupe Street to the west of the tower, and normally packed with students, staff and tourists, and an easy mark for Whitman. An airplane was used to try to get an officer close enough to get a shot at Whitman, but the airplane took on fire and was forced to retreat.
Local police and armed civilians returned fire whenever they could, and Whitman took cover behind a water spout located on the tower, limiting his ability to pick targets.
Eventually, three officers, Ramiro Martinez, Houston McCoy, Jerry Day, and a hastily deputized civilian, Allan Crum, worked their way up to observation deck of the 27 floor tower. McCoy and Martinez both fired off several rounds before Whitman was finally killed. Then they waved a green towel from the observation deck to signal an end to the rampage.
Among the dead was an unborn child who died when the mother, Claire Wilson was shot in the abdomen, Thomas Eckman who stopped to help her, and many others trying to help with the wounded and dieing. One victim, David Gunby, received injuries so severe, he remained on diolosis for 30 years until in 2001, he decided he had suffered enough. One week after diolosis was stopped, Gunby died, the final victim of the 1966 University of Texas shootings.
After Repairs, LaSalle sets out from Rochefort
ROCHEFORT, FR (1684)
After setting sail from LaRochelle a week before and suffering a broken mast, repairs were made at Rochefort, and the four ships of the LaSalle expedition once again set sail on this date in 1684.
The expedition will make a brief stop in Haiti, where one of LaSalle's ships is captured by the Spanish. With France at war with Spain, France wanted a foot hold in the New World, by locating a base with which to strike at Spanish Mexico. So with three remaining ships and 280 colonists, La Salle was now headed to the mouth of the Mississippi river.
Two weeks after his ships set sail, the war with Spain ended, but LaSalle never learned of this. 58 days after leaving France, LaSalle landed in Matagorda Bay, having unknowingly sailed past the mouth of the Mississippi River. The expedition was totally unprepared for life in the New World, and most perished in Texas, many still searching on land for the Mississippi.
Siege of Nacogdoches by Texans
On this date in 1832, James Bullock, accompanied by 300 men including Jim Bowie, arrive at Nacogdoches and lay seige to the Mexican garrison located there led by José de las Piedras. 30 Mexicans are killed, and the garrison flees south.
A month before, in response to the Anahuac uprising, Piedras ordered that all citizens under his jurisdiction surrender their weapons. Bowie caught up to the fleeing Mexicans, ambushed them, and brought them back to Nacogdoches.
Now that the Mexican army was driven out of East Texas, Texans were now free to assemble without fear of Mexican intervention. In response, Mexico assembled their forces in Mexico City, and launched one of the greatest military expeditions in history, moving men, horses and equipment, over a thousand miles to retake Texas for the rebellious Texians. The Mexicans however were defeated at the battle of San Jacinto in 1835.
Gulf Freeway completed from Galveston to Houston
On this date in 1952, Houston's Gulf Freeway in finished. What remains is minor cleanup, excavation, signage, and striping.
Later, The Gulf Freeway will become part of the Interstate Highway system as I-45 which extends from downtown Dallas, through Houston, and ending in downtown Galveston.