‘I Think About It Every August’: 55 Years After The UT Tower Shooting

On Aug. 1, 1966 a shooter began firing on the University of Texas at Austin campus from the top of the tower in the Main Building.

By Laura RiceJuly 30, 2021 12:27 pm,

 Click here to find the documentary and oral history Texas Standard produced to mark the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower shooting.

Rick Cloud was born in Austin in 1946. He grew up in Baytown and then moved to the capital city to attend the University of Texas at Austin. He told the Texas Standard he was on campus for summer class on Aug. 1, 1966 when a gunman opened fire on people below the Main Building’s tower.

“I was sitting in a classroom and not paying much attention, looking out the window. And across the little courtyard area is the ROTC building, and I noticed people running around kind of ducking behind bushes and things. I figured they were having some type of military exercise but I didn’t know what was going on.”

“Class was finally over and we started to leave the building and there were APD [Austin Police Department] people there and they said, you can’t leave the building. There’s a sniper on the tower.”

“I lived about three or four blocks away, north of campus, [and] turned on the television and there was [Charles] Whitman’s picture. And that’s when I realized, not only did I know him, but he was supposed to be sitting in the seat in front of me in that class that morning.”

“You know, for my generation, it’s when Kennedy was killed, and this is one on a personal level that that I’ll always remember.”

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