60 Chapters
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12: THE GENERAL

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

12
The General

I

The heat—they remembered the heat. Virtually all of the wounded knew that the best way to avoid another shot from Charles Whitman was to lie still and play dead, but for many the heat became unbearable. Onlookers pitied the wounded as much for the pain caused by hot pavement as for the wounds. Claire Wilson had no choice but to lie still for more than an hour as the sun beat down on her until she could be rescued. Instinctively she picked up one leg and moved it from side to side. Witnesses mentally pleaded for her to put that leg down and keep still. “We could see people moving a bit, but they never could get up and walk away.” It would have been easier if they had known that Whitman never shot anyone twice.1

From the top of the Tower, Charles Whitman not only held off an army but he also pinned it down and stayed on the attack. After the tragedy many police officers' written reports stated that they were unable to move from their positions. Whitman's rapid fire suggested a shift to a greater use of the 30-caliber carbine, an automatic rifle. Earlier he tended to use the scoped 6mm Remington, a far more accurate weapon over long distances, but one that required the manual use of a bolt action. Whitman pinned down Patrolman Jim Cooney as the officer made attempts to assist Roy Dell Schmidt, the electrician Whitman killed near University and 21st Streets. “I couldn't get to the man,” said Cooney.2

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16: APD

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

16
APD

I

Somehow, it seemed pathetically appropriate. Flags on the University of Texas campus had already been lowered in tribute to fifty-six-year-old retired Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bryant Pelton, who had died of a heart attack on the previous Friday. If Don Walden and Cheryl Botts still wondered why the flags were lowered, they could have read about Pelton in the Austin American-Statesman in a small article, hidden in the midst of an entire issue on the Tower sniping.1

The city of Austin and the University of Texas became the focus of world news. TASS, the official Communist Party news organ of the Soviet Union, used the occasion to highlight the problem of crime in the United States: “Murders, armed attacks, robbery, and rapes have become common in present-day America.” Richard Speck and Charles Whitman dwarfed coverage of the White House wedding of Luci Baines Johnson and Patrick Nugent. When reminded that the Speck murders in Chicago had been called the “Crime of the Century,” APD Chief Bob Miles replied, “It isn't anymore.” Reporters from all over the world interviewed witnesses, victims, and victims' families.2 Charlotte Darenshori, the secretary pinned down behind the base of a flagpole on the South Mall, remembered: “I had a call from Dan Rather wanting me to be on the afternoon news, from the networks and from newspapers everywhere. I just didn't understand the interest.”3

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13: INDEPENDENT ACTIONS

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

13
Independent Actions

I

In a short time, nearly all of Austin's police force had reported for duty. Some of the officers went directly to the campus. Others, including Officers George Shepard, Phillip Conner, Harold Moe, and Milton Shoquist, went to police headquarters first. There, the team was given tear gas and a walkie talkie and told to report to the campus area. Since the officers were in possession of communications equipment and tear gas, when they reached 21st and Speedway, Sergeant Marvin Ferrell, who had been directing officers to their assignments, sent them to the UT Security Office a few blocks north of the Tower at 24th and San Jacinto. There Houston McCoy asked them if they had any additional shotguns. They did not. He also asked if they had any directions or a plan. They did not. At the office, UT's Security Chief Allen R. Hamilton directed one of his men, Sgt. A. Y. Barr, to lead the APD team to the Tower.

From the university police station, the band of officers walked through the campus to an area directly east of the Tower. From that position there appeared to be only one way to get to the Tower—a dash over an open area. McCoy wondered aloud if there was a safer way for six men to get to the Main Building. William Wilcox, a university employee, knew of a maze of tunnels connecting the buildings to allow for relative ease when maintaining the campus infrastructure—telephone, power lines and water lines. Through the tunnel connecting the Computation Center to the Main Building, Wilcox guided McCoy's team.1

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Medium 9781574413533

Chapter 17. I Have Killed A Many Man

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 17

I Have Killed A Many Man

After Longley was sentenced on Tuesday, September 11, 1877, Jim Brown discussed with Judge Turner his concerns about the security of the Lee County jail while Longley was awaiting the outcome of his appeal. Turner agreed that it was “not a safe jail for the confinement” of Longley, and ordered that he be conveyed to the Travis County jail in Austin “for safekeeping during his appeal.”1 Turner initially ordered Longley sent to Galveston, but crossed it out in favor of Austin.

Apparently there was no room for Longley in Austin where John Wesley Hardin was currently being detained. Brown sent a telegram that evening to Sheriff Christian Jordan in Galveston: “I want to imprison Bill Longley with you. Answer instanter. Can you take him?”2 Jordan promptly responded that the county commissioners of Galveston County had prohibited him from receiving prisoners from other counties until the county jail could “be placed in a more secure condition.” On the 13th, Brown again telegraphed him: “By request of many citizens I telegraph you again to take Wm. Longley for safekeeping. He is convicted of murder and is threatened by mob.”3

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Chapter 10. Shot Him Dead

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 10

Shot Him Dead

Between July 1873 and Christmas 1874, there is no real record of Longley’s whereabouts. We only have his story that, after being released in Austin, he killed a man in Frio County and then worked for Dr. McIver in Madison County. The 1877 account of his adventures found in the Galveston Daily News had him leaving Madison County, which is in East Texas northeast of Bryan, visiting his parents again briefly in Bell County, then riding on to old Fort Ewell on the Nueces River in LaSalle County, at the junction of the San Antonio and Laredo roads. The fort had been established in 1852, but abandoned in October 1854 when army troops there were transferred to Fort McIntosh on the Rio Grande above Laredo.1 Fort Ewell and Dog Town, forty miles northeast on the Frio River, became two principal stage stands between San Antonio and the Rio Grande. Fort Ewell was not much of a town, being principally occupied by Mexicans and a storekeeper known as Peg Leg Stuart.2

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