Category: Spree Killing
Location: Austin, Texas
Date: August 1, 1966
Crime: Mostly from the 307 foot Administration Building tower, shot and killed 14 people and wounding 32 others before being gunned down by police. The killing spree also included the murder of his wife and his mother.
Biography: Forever known as 'The Tower Sniper', Charles Joseph Whitman was born into an upper-middle class family in Lake Worth, Florida, which was dominated by an emotionally and physically abusive father. In spite of that, he excelled academically and had no troubles making friends as a young man. He enrolled in college, dropped out and then spent a few years in the Marine Corps. His military career was marred by violent confrontations and he was subsequently discharged and went back to school at the University of Texas. He married a fellow student, but it has been reported that he was physically abusive towards her. Then, early in 1966, the year of the attack, his family life fell apart. His mother filed for divorce from her abusive husband, and Whitman found himself suffering from severe headaches. He sought psychiatric counseling at the University of Texas health office, and it was later reported that he had once stated to a Doctor there that he felt like taking a deer rifle and shooting people from the tower. An autopsy performed on Whitman after the shootings indicated that he was suffering from a large brain tumor which would have contributed to his state of mind.