Much more information is available about some of the shooting victims than others. We are sharing these short, if often incomplete, biographies, to honor those whose lives were cut short or deformed that day, to acknowledge the randomness of fate that separated the living and the dead, and to salute the courage of many of the bystanders.

The People Killed by Charles Whitman

Thomas Aquinas Ashton

Thomas Ashton was born in San Francisco on June 1, 1944 and grew up in Redlands, California. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Southern California in June 1965 with a degree in Political Science. Ashton had planned to attend law school but after President Kennedy’s assassination, he was inspired to serve his country in other ways and joined the Peace Corps.

The 22-year-old was involved in many organizations including CORE, the Redlands Young Democrats, and the NAACP, and was an activist for civil rights. He was at UT Austin in the summer of 1966 to study Persian, because the Peace Corps assigned him to Iran as an English instructor. He was scheduled to leave Austin for Iran on September 14, 1966.

On August 1st, a little after 11:50 am, Ashton was leaving his Persian language class to meet up with other Peace Corps trainees, David Mattson and Roland Ehlke, at the Student Union, where they planned to meet before heading together to a volunteer luncheon scheduled for that afternoon. As Ashton headed to the Student Union, across the paved terrace above the University’s Computation Center, he began to see bodies fall. Before he had a chance to duck for cover, Whitman’s bullet pierced his chest. Ashton was pronounced dead at 1:35 pm at Brackenridge Hospital.

The Peace Corps arranged for his body to be flown back home to Redlands, California. Ashton is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in San Bernardino County. He was survived by both of his parents and six younger brothers and sisters.

Robert Hamilton Boyer

Robert Hamilton Boyer was the third person shot by Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. A 33-year-old Pennsylvania native, Boyer was an up and coming mathematician. He had been working in Mexico and was traveling to Texas to visit friends and handle some personal business on campus. Boyer had been in town for less than 24 hours when he was killed. He was making his way back to England where he had been hired to teach applied mathematics at the University of Liverpool and where he hoped to join his wife and family.

Boyer was heading to the Main Building under the tower that morning. It was there that a little after 11:30 Whitman’s single shot struck him in the left lower side of his back, hitting his kidney area. Boyer was fatally shot before Whitman moved on to take down his next victim, Devereau Huffman, who fell wounded beside a hedge nearby. Charlotte Darehshori ran to help Boyer and Huffman, but found herself under open fire. She hid behind the concrete base of the flagpole for over an hour, unable to aid any of the nearby victims.

Boyer was the first person to be rushed to Brackenridge Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at 12:12 pm. Whitman had prevented him from reuniting with his pregnant wife, Lindsey M. Boyer, and his two children Laura and Matthew.

Thomas Frederick Eckman and Baby Boy Wilson

Thomas Eckman was born in Columbus, Ohio, October 2, 1947. Thomas’s parents divorced in 1960 and in 1962 Eckman and his mother moved to Barcelona, Spain where they lived until 1963 when they returned to Ohio. In 1966 Eckman was attending the summer school at UT, planning to continue in the Fall.

Since his arrival in Austin, Eckman was an active participant in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an organization that opposed racial discrimination and US participation in the Vietnam War. At one SDS meeting he met Claire Wilson, who was six months pregnant. Wilson and Eckman became a couple and began to live together in June 1966.

On August 1, 1966, Claire and Thomas attended an SDS meeting at the Texas Union.They left the session and began walking across the plaza in front of the tower, when Whitman shot Claire in her abdomen, killing her unborn baby. It was 11:47 am. Eckman approached Claire to ask what was wrong. Seconds later Whitman shot him in the chest, killing him instantly.

The body of Thomas Eckman was taken to Brackenridge Hospital like all of the other victims. His funeral services were hosted at Hyllin-Manor Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 3, 1966. Three days after the ceremony Eckman´s body was taken by his parents to the family mausoleum in the Ottawa Putnam County cemetery in Ohio, for his burial.

Claire Wilson’s unborn baby, just weeks from birth, was buried in the Austin Memorial Park Cemetery. But few people, including his mother (now Claire James) knew the fate of the unborn child, until Gary Lavergne discovered the unmarked grave on a plot leased to Claire’s stepfather and placed a headstone there.

Martin (Mark) Gabour and Marguerite Lamport

On August 1, 1966, Marguerite Lamport’s brother M.J. Gabour was in Austin with his family: his wife, Mary, and his two sons, 19-year-old Mike, a student at the United States Air Force Academy, and sixteen-year-old Martin (Mark). Their daughter, Mary Jane, had stayed in Texarkana to work. The Gabours were on their way to Houston for a high school all-star football game later in the week. M.J. was taking a rare vacation from managing the Gulf service station he owned in Texarkana. The 45-year-old Marguerite and her husband, William Lamport, eagerly toured the Gabours around Austin, beginning with a trip to the observation deck of the University of Texas tower, where they could get wonderful views of the city and the surrounding hill country.

At about 11:45 am, the group approached the top of the tower. As they climbed the stairs from the 27th floor to the reception area on the 28th, Michael noticed that a desk had been pulled across a doorway at the top of the stairs. Thinking that the janitorial staff was still cleaning the observation deck, Mike and Mark decided to squeeze past the desk and ask if they could access the deck.

That was when Whitman saw them. He came running towards them, firing a blast from a sawed-off shotgun. Mike was hit in the shoulder and passed out for 45 minutes, while Mark was struck in the head. Whitman then fired several blasts down the stairs at the rest of the family, hitting Marguerite in the chest and injuring Mary. Both Mark and Marguerite died instantly. M.J. and William had lagged behind the group and escaped being hit. They saw immediately that Mark and Marguerite were dead. William picked up his wife’s purse, while M.J. took his wife’s white shoes and ran for help. Once Mike regained consciousness, he was too injured to move, and he and his mother, Mary, played dead until they were discovered by the police and evacuated.

Remarkably, in statements made several months after the shooting, neither Mike nor Mary felt anything besides pity for Whitman.

Karen Griffith

Karen Griffith was on Guadalupe and 23rd Street when Whitman shifted his attention away from the campus grounds. She was seventeen years old and a student at Lanier High School, the same high school that Kathy Whitman taught biology. Whitman wounded her in the shoulder and chest, the bullet piercing her right lung, which led to her death seven days after the shooting on August 9, 1966 at Brackenridge Hospital. The Lanier High School yearbook for the academic year 1966-1967, when she would have been a graduating senior, features a dedication to Karen and to Kathy Whitman. Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas, she is buried in Crestview Memorial Park in Wichita Falls.

David Hubert Gunby

David Gunby survived the mass shooting on August 1, 1966 but his death from kidney disease in 2001 was ruled a homicide.

Gunby was born on April 14, 1943. He was raised by his mother, Grace Gunby, and became an Eagle Scout, a straight A student, and member of the National Honor Society. In 1966, David Gunby was enrolled in summer school at UT Austin in order to fill the requirements for his degree in electrical engineering.

On August 1, the 23-year old Gunby had spent most of the morning at the library. He had left the library a little before 11:50, but turned back because he had forgotten to pick up a book. At 11:55 am, Gunby found himself walking beneath the UT Tower back to the library to retrieve his book when he was suddenly hit by Whitman.

The bullet shot through Gunby’s upper left arm and entered his abdominal cavity, badly severing his small intestine. He lay injured on the extremely hot sidewalk and still in full view of Whitman for almost an hour, playing dead at times, while at others making an effort to wave to others to stay away from the open range. Around 12:20 emergency personnel, APD officers and Melvin Hess were looking for wounded in armored trucks borrowed from the Austin Armored Company owned by Mr. Hess. A little after 12:30 Gunby was rescued along with Adrian Littlefield and both men were taken to Brackenridge Hospital.

During surgery to reconnect his small intestine, doctors realized that Gunby only had one functioning kidney and now that sole kidney had been severely damaged. The doctors saved Gunby’s life but he struggled with kidney disease and significant pain for the rest of his life.

David Gunby returned to school in 1968 to finish his degree. He moved to the Fort Worth area with his wife and two children and worked at General Dynamics, in the avionics department, until 1991. In 2001, tired of living in pain and undergoing dialysis three times a week, Gunby publicly announced, on November 7, 2001, that he was stopping dialysis for good. He died a week later at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

Thomas Ray Karr

Tom Karr was born in Spur, Texas on July 29, 1942 and grew up in Fort Worth. He served in the military, stationed in Taiwan (then called Formosa) from 1963-1965. In 1966 Karr was an Honor student at Arlington State College, but his dream was to work for the U.S. State Department so he decided to earn some extra credits by going to summer school at UT. On August 1, he was leaving campus after having aced a Spanish test.

The 24-year-old was walking on the sidewalk on the west side of Guadalupe, in front of Snyder-Chenards dress shop. He was heading towards Batts Hall, where he was living at the time. Karr was just a few feet north of where Karen Griffith was shot – right in front of his eyes. Whitman shot Karr as he rushed to try to aid Griffith.

The bullet pierced through the left side of Karr’s spine, which laid him flat out on the sidewalk. He lay there for about an hour before he was taken to Brackenridge Hospital, where he died on the operating table at 1:10 p.m. He is buried back in Spur.

Claudia Rutt and Paul Bolton Sonntag

Claudia Rutt wanted to be a dancer. At 18, she had just graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School and was about to leave for her freshman year at Texas Christian University. Claudia was a native Austinite and a member of her youth group at Temple Beth Israel. Austin’s Jewish community called her murder part of a “Texas Holocaust.” As her rabbi told reporters, Claudia was “loved by everybody.”

Before the shooting began, Claudia was casually chatting with friends on the Drag. She and her boyfriend, Paul Sonntag, were on their way to the University Co-op to look at some records. Paul Bolton Sonntag was also 18 when he was killed by Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. He was a recent graduate of Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin and was planning to attend Colorado University in the fall. That summer, Paul was in his third year as a lifeguard at Reed Pool.

The couple had just run into a friend, Carla Sue Wheeler, when shots began to ring out. The group took shelter behind a construction barrier, but, for two of them, it was already too late. Paul was shot and died instantly. When Claudia tried to reach for him, Carla held her back. The two women were shot at once: Carla in the hand, and Claudia in the chest. Carla survived, but Claudia’s internal bleeding was too severe – she died on the operating table at Brackenridge Hospital.

Paul’s grandfather, also named Paul Bolton, was a KTBC news director. The elder Bolton learned of his grandson’s death when he heard a list of victims read aloud during the emergency broadcast that day.

Roy Dell Schmidt

Roy Dell Schmidt was 29 years old and working as an electrician for the City of Austin when he and Solon McCown drove onto campus on a service call. They stopped and parked near the Littlefield Fountain, when they saw police barricades. They were about 500 yards away from the tower. Crouching behind their car, Schmidt told another on-looker that they were safely out of range of the bullets. Just then, Whitman fatally wounded him.

Billy Paul Speed

Austin police officer Billy Paul Speed was killed in the line of duty responding to shots fired from the UT Tower on August 1, 1966.

On a traffic stop at the corner of 21st St and Guadalupe, Speed was one of the first APD officers to arrive at the university after reports of shots fired. Heading toward the tower, he made his way to the north steps leading up to the main tower mall. Positioned next to the former site of the Jefferson Davis statue, Speed was beside a few civilians and fellow officer Jerry Culp. He was shot at 12:08 pm, between two decorative balusters that separated the upper and lower terraces of the South Mall. He was taken to Brackenridge Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 12:39. Proximity to the campus and his quick response to the call made Speed one of Whitman’s earliest victims.

Billy Paul Speed was born February 22, 1942 at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. While his father was serving in the Pacific during World War II, he and his two older brothers (Pat and Mike) were largely raised by their mother and grandmother. Active in the Boy Scouts, Speed would eventually attain the rank of Eagle Scout.

Growing up with two older brothers amounted to a lot of outdoor adventures for Billy. On the weekends they would often go rock hunting and explore caves throughout the Texas Hill Country. During high school, each year they would fix up a car and head down to Mexico for a few weeks where they would go camping and explore the silver and opal mines in the mountains. Later in high school, Billy became interested in photography and in developing his own photographs. This became a hobby that he carried into the army.

After graduating from Highlands High School in San Antonio in 1961 he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army joining the 82nd Airborne Division where he was assigned to company A, 2nd Battalion, 505th regiment. His division was sent to South Florida in October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Eventually Billy left the army to raise a family. He married Jeannie Holmes in October 1963 and less than a year and a half later they welcomed their daughter, Rebecca Lynn Speed, on January 24, 1965. Settling in Austin to be near his wife’s family he took a job with the Austin Police Department as a police officer.

Officially commissioned on July 2, 1965, Officer Speed had only been with the APD for 13 months when he was shot and killed. At the time of his death he was planning to resign his post as a police officer. He had already begun looking at colleges he might have liked to attend.

Speed was formally laid to rest at the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.

Edna Elizabeth Townsley

Edna Elizabeth Townsley was the receptionist on duty at the observation deck of the UT Tower when Charles Whitman came to campus on August 1, 1966. She normally would have had the day off but was covering for a friend on vacation. When Whitman ascended the tower, Townsley was minutes away from being relieved for her lunch break. Townsley was known for her scrappiness—she was 5’4”— and “loud, unique laugh.” She worked at the University of Texas since 1954 and at the Tower since 1958. Townsley was survived by her sons, Danny and Terry Townsley, and her three sister and two brothers. She was a member of the Lutheran Church.

Harry Walchuk

Harry Walchuk was born on February 3, 1928 in Minnesota, where he lived most of his life. He met Marilyn Mason there and married her in 1951. Together they had six children: John, Peter, Christopher, Jennifer, Thomas and Paul. Walchuk had received a bachelor’s degree from UT Austin in 1954. In 1966 he returned to UT to complete a PhD.

On August 1 the 38-year old doctoral student had been doing research at the UT Library and preparing for his usual 7:00 pm class. Around 12:00, he left the library to get something to eat and headed out along Guadalupe. Walchuk stopped at the magazine store along the way.He walked out on to the sidewalk unaware that he was facing straight at the tower and in plain sight of Whitman. As he started to walk a bit south of where the barber shop was located on Guadalupe, the 28-year-old navy veteran was fatally shot in the chest. He instantly collapsed onto the sidewalk.

Walchuk is buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Hennepin County, Minnnesota.

Kathy Whitman

Kathleen Frances Leissner, the only daughter of Raymond and Florence Leissner, was born July 12, 1943 in Freeport, TX. Focused and studious, Kathy was known as an intelligent young woman with a sweet personality. She was active in many social activities in her youth, including the 1960 Needville Youth Fair where she was crowned Queen.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Kathy studied science in the College of Education with the intention of becoming a teacher like her mother, who was an English teacher at an elementary school. Kathy met Charles Joseph Whitman through mutual friends at UT and a whirlwind romance followed. The couple was married on August 17, 1964 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in her small hometown of Needville, TX. After graduating from UT with a B.S. in Science Education in 1965, she taught biology at Sidney Lanier High School in north Austin. During the summers she worked at the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.

Kathy was 23 years old when she died in her home in Austin on August 1, 1966. She was stabbed in the chest by her 25-year-old husband, Charles Whitman.

Margaret Whitman

Margaret Elizabeth Hodges was born in Savannah, GA on October 22, 1922. She married Charles Adolphus Whitman, Jr., and the couple had their first child, a son named Charles Joseph, on June 24, 1941 in Lake Worth, FL. Two more sons followed: Patrick, born April 19, 1945, and John Michael, born January 18, 1949.

The family ran a successful plumbing business in Lake Worth, where Margaret managed the office and did the books. However, Margaret and C. A. Whitman struggled in a difficult and violent marriage for years. In March 1966, Margaret decided to leave her husband of twenty-five years and move to Austin, Texas where her son, Charles, was living with his wife while attending UT.

Troubled by his parents’ separation, among other issues, Charles Whitman murdered his mother in her apartment on August 1, 1966. She was struck on the head, shot, and fatally stabbed in the chest in the same manner that Whitman would also kill his wife. Margaret Whitman was the first of Charles Whitman’s victims that day.

The People Wounded by Charles Whitman

Mary Frances Lamport Gabour and Mike Gabour

Mike Gabour and his brother, Mark, were both shot by Whitman when they tried to squeeze past his barricade and get onto the tower observation deck. They thought that the deck was closed for cleaning, and wanted to tour it. Whitman fired multiple shotgun blasts at them at close range. Mark, who was struck in the head, died instantly. Mike was wounded, as was his mother, Mary Frances Gabour. Marguerite Lamport, Mike’s aunt and Mary’s sister-in-law, was also killed. Mike told their father, M.J., and uncle, William Lamport, who were behind them on the stairs and who hadn’t been hit, to run for help. While waiting to be evacuated by police officers, Mike tried to keep his mother conscious. When the police found them, Mike asked McCoy for his shotgun, saying “Let me shoot that son of a bitch.” McCoy said that he’d shoot him for him.

Mike had just completed his first year as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. Due to his injuries, he was unable to complete the program. His legs were permanently weakened. According to his cousin, Jim Gabour, Mike would move to Amsterdam for five years. On a return visit to the United States in 1972, he found himself in New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. He once again found himself in the middle of a spasm of public violence as Mark Essex, the “Howard Johnson sniper,” began killing police officers around the city. Essex would be gunned down later on January 7, 1973. Mike was unharmed. He later moved to Port Douglas, Australia, where he owns a radio station. According to his biography on the Radio Port Douglas website, he also worked as a traveling salesman for Encyclopedia Britannica in Asia, traded on Wall Street, and rode a motorcycle from Amsterdam to the Sahara, where he was detained for importing faulty machinery.

After the shooting, Mary spent weeks recovering in the hospital, missing Mark’s funeral. Her injuries left her legally blind and paralyzed from the neck down. She and her husband, M.J., eventually divorced. She would later remarry William Lamport, Marguerite’s widowed husband. Mary wrote a memoir, called The Impossible Tree, which includes an account of the tower shooting. When speaking to a reporter ten years after the shooting, she said, “I don’t feel any bitterness towards Charles Whitman. I can only feel a sort of pity for him–to have had to face his judgment with the blood of so many on his hands.” Mary died in 2006.

Claire Wilson James

In 2016, Keith Maitland’s powerful documentary Tower, and Pamela Colloff’s moving Texas Monthly article, “The Reckoning,” gave us far more information about Claire Wilson (now Claire James) than we have about any of the other people who were wounded or killed that day. The following derives primarily from those two sources.

Claire Wilson was a happy 18-year-old freshman, in love with Tom Eckman and optimistic about changing the world, when the first bullet Whitman shot from the tower slammed her to the ground, took the life of her soon-to-be-born child, and changed the direction and tenor of her life. After being shot, she lay on the scorching pavement, rapidly losing blood, with Eckman dead beside her, as the shooting continued. A stranger, Rita Star Pattern, ran over and lay next to her, giving her comfort and courage. Two other young onlookers, James Love and John “Artly” Fox, eventually braved the continuing bullets, to rescue Claire and help her into an ambulance. At Brackenridge Hospital, doctors delivered her son, but he had died in utero. Claire’s injuries were extensive. On September 16 she was the last of Whitman’s victims still in the hospital and in all she spent 3 months there before being released.

Returning to UT was emotionally painful. Claire’s grief was overwhelming at times and no one wanted to talk about it with her. The formerly happy, out-going, politically engaged young woman withdrew from the world. She moved to Colorado where, eventually, after many years, she found solace in faith and service as a teacher. She became a Seventh Day Adventist and taught at the first of many remote Seventh Day Adventist schools. She moved often, married, divorced, and continued to teach. In 1983, she finished college. In 1986 (20 years after the shooting), she finally found a psychologist who could talk to her about her unremitting anger and grief, but that help was short lived.

At age 41, Claire and her second husband, Brian James, adopted a four-year-old Ethiopian boy, named Sirak who had come to the U.S. for medical treatment for a heart condition. His family’s visa and financial problems made it hard for them to care for him, though his father would continue to visit him. Having a child at last brought Claire a great deal of joy, but she continued to struggle, and continued to move around.

All this time, she had no solid information about the events of August 1, 1966. The lack of open discussion, historical publications, and the kind of access to information we take for granted in the age of the internet increased her sense of loss, disbelief, and isolation. All that began to change with the publication of Lavergne’s book, A Sniper in the Tower, and with her ability to begin to reconnect with others who had also been traumatically affected that day.

Claire James lives in Texarkana now. The six years she has lived there is the longest she’s lived anywhere since her ten years in Colorado in the 1970s. She came back to Austin for the first time in 2008. In 2013 and 2015, she testified before the Texas state legislature against proposed laws to allow people to bring guns to college campuses. She said lawmakers should try to prevent attacks rather than arm civilians: “A campus is a sacred place.”

Devereau Huffman

Devereau Huffman, age 31, was a PhD student in Psychology specializing in business administration who also taught classes at the University. He had just left the Psychology building and was walking along the South Mall when Whitman shot him in the upper arm. He fell on the ground pretending to be dead.

Brenda Littlefield and Adrian Littlefield

Brenda Littlefield, 18, and Adrian Littlefield, 19, had only been married for nine days on August 1, 1966. The newlyweds walked out of the Main Building and onto the south mall after Brenda picked up her paycheck. They were soon met with gunfire. Brenda was hit first in her hip. As Adrian leaned over her he was shot in the back.. Adrian’s father, who accompanied the couple that day, ran to his son and daughter-in-law to help. Adrian’s left side was paralyzed for twenty months and he soon defied his surgeon’s predictions that he would never walk again.

Nancy Harvey

21 year-old Nancy Harvey was shot as she was going out for lunch with Ellen Evganides. Harvey was an education major and worked part time on the second floor of the tower. Like Whitman’s first sniping victim, Claire Wilson, she was also pregnant. She and Ellen Evganides had stepped out of the tower for a lunch break when they heard three shots. After the shots stopped, they asked a security guard if it was safe to go outside, and he said, “Sure.” They were walking on the West Mall, about a hundred yards away from the tower, when Nancy was shot in the hip. They managed to get to safety between the Academic Center and the Student Union. It was later reported that Harvey was from the Lake Worth, Florida, the same town at Charles Whitman.

Ellen Evganides

Ellen Evganides was a young UT employee who worked in the Main Building. Ellen was wounded in the left leg and thigh by the ricochet of the shot in Nancy’s thigh.

Aleck Hernandez

Aleck Hernandez, age 17, was shot through the leg, injuring his right femur, as he was riding his bicycle delivering newspapers. He was riding near the main entrance to the West Mall was shot around 11:45, when Whitman shot him, right before fatally shooting 17-year-old Karen Griffith.

Billy Snowden

Billy Snowden, 35, was shot from over 500 yards away, making him the furthest victim away from Charles Whitman. Snowden and his barber at A&E Barbershop on 2535 Guadalupe Street, located three blocks northwest of the UT tower, believed they were out of range of the shooting. “We thought at first we were too far away to get hit,” Snowden said. He was, however, wounded in the shoulder while standing in the doorway of the barbershop where he was getting a haircut. At the time, he was the head basketball coach at the Texas School for the Deaf. Under his guidance they went on to become national champions in 1968 and 1969.

Sandra Wilson

Sandra Wilson, 21, was a UT student who was hurrying down Guadalupe to meet a friend for lunch, when she was shot in the chest.

Abdul Khashab and Janet Paulos

Abdul Khashab, an exchange student from Iraq was at UT studying Chemistry. He was walking with his fiancée, Janet Paulos, near the corner of Guadalupe and 24th St. when he was shot outside a dress shop. Janet Paulos, a 20-year-old History major was also shot. Paulos and Khasab were less than a month from their wedding when they were wounded. Due to injuries sustained to her left shoulder and her four fractured ribs, Paulos spent 10 days in the hospital recovering.  The wedding had to be postponed but it took place a week after it was originally planned. Later in life, Paulos taught English as a foreign language and worked as a library research assistant.  She currently works as an Accredited Genealogist professional.

Lana Phillips

Lana Phillips, a 21-year-old Music major, was shot in the shoulder outside Rae Ann’s Dress Shop, a clothing store on Guadalupe where she was working in August 1966. In an interview shortly after the shooting she stated, “I wasn’t scared until I got shot. I didn’t think I was within range. Plus I was standing behind some other people, and I thought they would get shot before I would. I was wrong.” After the shooting Lana became a well-known and beloved music teacher and musician in the Austin area. She founded the Austin Children’s Repertoire Company in 1985 and also worked with the Zach Scott Theatre’s Performing Arts School. She died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Tom Herman

Tom Herman was walking with Roland Ehlke and David Mattson to a lunch for Peace Corps volunteers when Whitman shot him. Like Ehlke, Mattson, and Thomas Ashton who was killed that day, he was one of 76 volunteers who had been sent by the Peace Corps to study at UT Austin.

Roalnd “Cap” Ehlke

Roland “Cap” Ehlke, a 21-year-old from Wisconsin, was sent by the Peace Corps to UT Austin to learn basic Persian (or Farsi) language in preparation for teaching English in Iran. He was walking along Guadalupe with Tom Herman and David Mattson, on their way to a lunch for other Peace Corps volunteers.

David Mattson

David Mattson, a 23-year-old from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was also in Austin to study Persian before taking up his Peace Corps mission in Iran. Mattson was injured by the same bullet that had previously hit Roland Ehlke.

Oscar Royvela and Irma Garcia

Oscar Royvela was a 21-year-old engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin from La Paz, Bolivia when he was shot. The United States Embassy bought his mother a plane ticket from Bolivia, so that she could come to be with her son and help in his recovery. 21-year-old Irma Garcia was walking to biology lab near the Hogg Auditorium with Oscar Royvela, her boyfriend, when Whitman shot her in the left shoulder. Two nearby students, Jack Stephens and Jack Pennington, were able to drag them to safety. The injury left her with a slight twist in her upper body. Garcia, who was from Harlingen, Texas, would go on to earn a master’s in Educational Psychology. In 2013, she told a reporter that she struggled with post traumatic stress disorder because of the shooting. Partly because of this and partly after learning that Whitman had been a veteran and dealt with his own mental health issues, Garcia said that she wished there were more care available for veterans with PTSD.

Avelino Esparza

Avelino Esparza, age 26, was a carpenter who had been working at a nearby construction site for a new post office. While walking back to work, Avelino was shot in the left arm near the shoulder, shattering the bone in his upper arm. Avelino was eventually admitted to Brackenridge in serious condition after his brother and uncle risked their lives to drag his body to safety.

Carla Sue Wheeler

Carla Sue Wheeler, 18, and a student at UT, was with her friends Paul Sonntag and Claudia Rutt when she was shot on her left hand, with the bullet severing three of her fingers. After hearing someone advise them to take cover, Carla had been looking at the tower. All three took cover behind a construction barricade. Moments before Paul and Claudia were fatally wounded, Wheeler was shot in the left hand, injuring her left ring, middle and index fingers.

Robert Heard

Robert Heard, age 36, was an Associated Press reporter on campus during the shooting. He had served as Marine officer in the Korean War. Heard told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette a month after the tragedy, “I still get shook when I see the tower.”

John Scott Allen

John Scott Allen was an 18-year-old Pharmacy student when he was shot. He had taken shelter in the Student Union and was looking up through a window at the tower. First Whitman shot a bullet through the edge of a window, shattering glass, but missing his target. Seconds later he would shoot again, sending a bullet through Allen’s right forearm, severing an artery.

Morris Hohman

Morris Hohman, age 30, was a funeral director at the Hyltin-Manor Funeral Home. He was called to the campus on the day of the shooting to use his funeral home ambulance to pick up shooting victims. He was shot in his right thigh at the corner of 23rd and Guadalupe Street, after he had already dropped off one victim (Dr. Robert Boyer) at Brackenridge Hospital. Taking cover under a nearby car after being shot, Hohmann recounted, “I laid there for about forty - forty five minutes waiting to be rescued, and listening to two construction workers arguing about who was going to expose themselves to recover me.” Unable to fashion a tourniquet while waiting, Hohmann lost a lot of blood and required 8 pints of blood at Brackenridge Hospital to save his life.

F.L. Foster

F.L. Foster was wounded in the cross fire.

Robert Frede

Robert Frede was wounded in the cross fire.

Homer J. Kelley

Homer J. Kelley, age 64 was the store manager of Sheftall’s jewelry store. He was wounded by flying glass from the front of the store when he was trying to help the three bleeding Peace Corps volunteers get off the street to take shelter.

Della Martinez

Della Martinez was visiting Austin from Monterrey, Mexico. She was wounded by shell fragments and was treated at the Student Health Center and released shortly.

Marina Martinez

Marina Martinez was also visiting Austin from Monterrey, Mexico. She was also wounded by shell fragments and was treated at the Student Health Center and released shortly.

Delores Ortega

Delores Ortega, 30, was a student at UT when she was wounded. She was taken to the Student Health Center where she was treated for a cut on the back of the head. The police report does not state if the flying glass was from a window or if it was caused by a direct bullet from Whitman. She was in good condition and was released soon.

C.A. Stewart

C.A. Stewart was wounded in the commotion, but was not directly shot by Whitman.

Text compiled by Maria Esther Hammack, Keisha Laneé Brown, Miguel Daza, Alejandra Garza, Rebecca Johnston, Justin Krueger, John Lisle, Isaac McQuistion, Justina Moloney, and Joan Neuberger.


Pamela Colloff. “The Reckoning.” Texas Monthly. April 2016.

Gary Lavergne. The Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders. Denton, Texas: University of North Texas Press, 1997.

Valrie Plaza. American Mass Murderers. Raleigh, North Carolina: Lulu Publishing, March 2015.

“The Texas Sniper.” Life Magazine. August 12, 1966.

Tower (2016), directed by Keith Maitland.