Shootings Recall Horror at University of Texas Last August, with little fanfare, the University of Texas marked the 40th anniversary of what then was the nation's worst mass shooting. Until Monday's carnage at Virginia Tech, the Aug. 1, 1966, sniping rampage by Charles Whitman from the Austin school's landmark 307-foot tower had remained the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.
NPR logo Shootings Recall Horror at University of Texas

Shootings Recall Horror at University of Texas

(ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Last August, with little fanfare, the University of Texas marked the 40th anniversary of what then was the nation's worst mass shooting.

Until Monday's carnage at Virginia Tech, the Aug. 1, 1966, sniping rampage by Charles Whitman from the Austin school's landmark 307-foot tower had remained the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.

Whitman, 25, a Lake Worth, Fla., native and former university student, opened fire from the 28th-floor observation deck, shooting people on the streets 231 feet below.

Sixteen people were killed and another 31 were wounded before police killed him about 90 minutes later.

In 2001, a Fort Worth man died of what physicians said were complications from a gunshot wound inflicted that day by Whitman, bringing the death toll to 17.

The school marked the tragic anniversary last year with a low-key observance, flying flags on campus at half-staff.

Then this past January, university officials added a bronze plaque to a garden near the tower as a memorial "to those who died, to those who were wounded, and to the countless other victims who were immeasurably affected by the tragedy," according to an inscription on the plaque.

Among Whitman's victims was a receptionist near the top of the tower who was fatally beaten and two tourists from Texarkana was were shot to death.

Besides his murderous attack from the top of the tower, Whitman earlier had stabbed to death his mother at her Austin apartment and his wife at their Austin home.

Notes that Whitman left behind indicated he killed his wife and mother to spare them the embarrassment of what he planned to do.

Timeline: Shootings at U.S. College Campuses

A woman cowers in fear behind a statue during a shooting incident at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966. Bettmann/Corbis hide caption

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Bettmann/Corbis

A woman cowers in fear behind a statue, while a man lies wounded a few feet away, during a shooting incident at the University of Texas in 1966. Sixteen people were killed and 31 others were wounded.

Bettmann/Corbis

Police bullets kick up dust around the clock on the University of Texas tower, as officers return the fire of Charles J. Whitman, a sniper who terrorized the university campus, Aug. 1, 1966. Whitman was shot and killed by an Austin policeman. Bettmann/Corbis hide caption

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Bettmann/Corbis

Police bullets kick up dust around the clock on the University of Texas tower, as officers return the fire of Charles J. Whitman, a sniper who terrorized the university campus, Aug. 1, 1966. Whitman was shot and killed by an Austin policeman.

Bettmann/Corbis

Monday's campus shooting at Virginia Tech was the deadliest in U.S. history. Here, a list of other fatal shootings that have occurred at U.S. colleges and universities over the past several decades:

April 16, 2007: A gunman kills more than 30 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

Sept. 2, 2006: Douglas W. Pennington, 49, kills himself and his two sons, Logan P. Pennington, 26, and Benjamin M. Pennington, 24, during a visit to the campus of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Oct. 28, 2002: Failing University of Arizona Nursing College student and Gulf War veteran Robert Flores, 40, walks into an instructor's office and fatally shoots her. A few minutes later, armed with five guns, he enters one of his nursing classrooms and kills two more of his instructors before fatally shooting himself.

Jan. 16, 2002: Graduate student Peter Odighizuwa, 42, recently dismissed from Virginia's Appalachian School of Law, returns to campus and kills the dean, a professor and a student before being tackled by students. The attack also wounds three female students.

Aug. 28, 2000: James Easton Kelly, 36, a University of Arkansas graduate student recently dropped from a doctoral program after a decade of study, and John Locke, 67, the English professor overseeing his coursework, are shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide.

Aug. 15, 1996: Frederick Martin Davidson, 36, a graduate engineering student at San Diego State, is defending his thesis before a faculty committee when he pulls out a handgun and kills three professors.

Nov. 1, 1991: Gang Lu, 28, a graduate student in physics from China, reportedly upset because he was passed over for an academic honor, opens fire in two buildings on the University of Iowa campus. Five University of Iowa employees are killed, including four members of the Physics Department; two other people are wounded. The student fatally shoots himself.

Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Whitman points a rifle from the observation deck of the University of Texas at Austin's Tower and begins shooting in a homicidal rampage that goes on for 96 minutes. Sixteen people are killed, including his wife and mother, who were shot the night before; 31 others are wounded.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)