Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – August 1, 1966) was an American mass shooter responsible for the Texas Tower shooting. He’s known as the “Texas Tower Sniper”. On August 1st, 1966 he started his spree by murdering his mother and his wife before heading over to the University of Texas (in Austin). First he killed 3 people at random inside the university’s tower before making his way up to the 28th floor deck. He began firing at random for over an hour and a half. He killed 11 more people and wounded 31 before police took him down. His total body count was 16th (a 17th died in 2001 from injuries sustained in the attack). Whitman was 25 years old the time of the shooting.
Whitman was said to be an intelligent and popular student. He had attended the University of Texas to study mechanical engineering. He started off being a poor student in college. Some of his interests were karate, scuba diving, gambling, and hunting. His friends said that he was a big prankster, but one who also said strange/morbid things at times. He apparently told a friend in school “A person could stand off an army from atop of it [the tower] before they got him.”
In 1962 at the age of 20 he met Kathleen Frances Leissner who was majoring in education, the two were seeing one another for 5 months before announcing their engagement. They married in Needville, Texas in a Catholic ceremony. His friends said that Whitman hit his wife on a couple of occasions. Whitman expressed that he was “mortally afraid of being like his father.” He wanted to be a good husband, unlike his father who was abusive.
Days prior to the attack he began preparing.
A portion of his suicide note read “I do not quite understand what it is that compels me to type this letter. Perhaps it is to leave some vague reason for the actions I have recently performed. I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts. These thoughts constantly recur, and it requires a tremendous mental effort to concentrate on useful and progressive tasks.”
He also requested (in his suicide note) that an autopsy be performed on his remains after he was dead. He made a note that he planned to kill his mother and his wife as well, but was unsure as to why. He saw the two as suffering and didn’t want them to deal with the embarrassment of his actions. He never mentioned that he planned his attack at the University.
After the shooting, once the autopsy was performed, it was found that Whitman had a “pecan-sized” brain tumor which was labeled an astrocytoma. It was concluded that this tumor had no effect on his actions.
Whitman has been mentioned many times in popular culture, a recent documentary was released on his crime called “Tower” by Keith Maitland. He’s been a subject in books, films, music, and TV shows.
This 1963 Yearbook was not personally owned by Whitman, but he appears in it. It’s in great vintage condition.
If you are outside of the US, an extra 15.00 dollars will be added for shipping. A unique piece of history for any collector!