Guest at School Safety Conference Helped Stop UT Gunman

One of the guest speakers at the School Safety Conference being held in Corpus Christi is former Austin police officer and Texas Ranger Ray Martinez. Martinez gained notoriety in 1966 after a gunman started shooting from atop the University of Texas clock tower.

"It was just a normal day. I wasn't going to work until 3 p.m., so I was off duty," Martinez said.

It was Aug. 1, 1966, when 27 floors up the clock tower, on the observation deck, 25-year old Charles Whitman began shooting and killing people. Martinez, who had been assigned to divert traffic around the active crime scene, soon found himself on the tower. He fired a shot into Whitman's shoulder, allowing another Austin police officer to fire the shots that killed the gunman.

"And I opened fire and hit him, and of course he tried to shoot me back. And I kept shooting, and then the other officer, McCoy, shot him with a shot gun. Then I took the shotgun from McCoy and fired one more round to make sure he was out of commission, and that was the end of it," Martinez said.

Martinez said he enjoys sharing his story with law enforcement officers as a way to remind them that, at any given moment, they could also be involved in a similar situation.


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