He purchased a M1 Carbine and a shotgun that morning, added to them to his collection of a Remington bolt-action hunting rifle with scope, a second shotgun and M1 and a handgun and placed them all in a footlocker with some other equipment. He toted that footlocker on a rented dolly to the University of Texas campus and entered the Main Building around 11:30 A.M. He made his way up the elevator to the floor below the observation deck, lugged his equipment up stairs after knocking out Edna Townsley with a fatal blow to the head and barricaded the stairs. He shot at a family climbing those stairs to the observation deck, which at the time was open to the public, killing 2.
All together, he killed 16 and wounded 32 until he was fatally shot at 1:24 P.M. by Austin Police Department Officer Houston McCoy, who traversed an underground tunnel to the Main Building with APD Officers Ramiro Martinez and Jerry Day and civilian Allen Crum.
The Tower is 307 feet tall and is a recognizable feature of the Austin skyline. The Main Building, which sits at its base, houses two libraries, the Admissions and Accounting office, the office of the President, and many other administrative and professorial offices. The observation deck on the Tower was closed for two years after the shooting and again in 1974 after several suicides. It was not reopened to the public until 1999 after security measures were implemented including access restricted to guided tours only.
It is with this history in mind that Texas legislators recently tried to extend the concealed handgun law to allow holders to carry weapons onto state campuses. It was, thank God, defeated. How someone really thinks that a student with a handgun could have ended this tragedy by shooting at Whitman 307 feet above their heads and who had excellent cover and a sniper rifle is really quite beyond me.
Instead, let us remember those who died or had their lives forever changed on that summer day:
Claire Wilson's unborn child
John Scott Allen
F. L. Foster
Mary Frances Gabour
Irma GarciaDavid Gunby
Homar J. Kelley
Brenda Gail Littlefield
C. A. Stewart
Carla Sue Wheeler