“Out of the Blue: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting” is Texas Standard’s oral history on the anniversary of the first public mass shooting of its kind.
Judy Winkel Brooks was on campus on Aug. 1, 1966 for freshman orientation. She was planning to attend the University of Texas at Austin that fall.
The orientation turned out to be more of an experience than she expected. She says on one of the tours of campus they heard “popping” noises. The students on the tour were told to duck. They were in the line of fire, right below the north side of the tower, near the economics building. The students were ushered into the building, where they stayed for the duration of the shooting.
“We were just kind of in shock,” Brooks says. “Back then there weren’t terrorist attacks, or anything like that, that were so common. And you couldn’t imagine that something like that had happened.”
After the shooting was over she says she was ready to go home, but the school asked the incoming freshmen to stay.
“There was a lot of camaraderie because we’d all been through it together,” she says. “I still think about it today when I look at the tower. “