HEROES OF THE TOWER TRAGEDY OF AUGUST 1, 1966

 

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AUSTIN POLICE ASSOCIATION HONORS TOWER HEROES

On May 7, 2009 the Austin Police Association honored the surviving members of the team of officers that retook control of the University of Texas Tower from a sniper who had already shot almost fifty people in over an hour and a half of cold-blooded murder. Below are three images from a very special evening where the heroes came together for all to celebrate extraordinary courage and dedication to duty.

Surviving members of the 1966 Austin Police Department assault team included (back row left to right) Jerry Day, Milton Shoquist, Harold Moe, and (front row left to right) Phillip Conner, Ramiro Martinez, and Houston McCoy. (Photo courtesy of Monika McCoy--used with permission)

 

Many members of the Austin Police Association and their guests had the opportunity to meet the Tower heroes. Seated at the table greeting well-wishers are Milton Shoquist (with back to camera, Phillip Conner, Ramiro Martinez, Houston McCoy, Jerry Day, and Harold Moe (at the table in the blue shirt). (Photo courtesy of Monika McCoy--used with permission))

Pictured above is former Austin Police officer Houston Mccoy holding the shotgun he used to fire upon the Tower sniper on August 1, 1966.  (Photo courtesy of Monika Mccoy--used with permission)

In Memoriam

(Left) Austin Police Officer George Shepard receives a Meritorious Conduct Award for his part in bringing the Tower Tragedy of August 1, 1966 to an end. The pin is being affixed by Major K.R. Herbert. (Photo made available to Monika McCoy by Vicky Shepard)

(Right) Austin Police Officer Billy Paul Speed was killed in the line of duty by the sniper  during the Tower Tragegy of August 1, 1966. He was buried in a military cemetery in San Antonio.

Two Austin policemen finally put an end to the the sniper's shooting spree. They were Ramiro Martinez (left) and Houston McCoy (right). Martinez was off duty and at home preparing lunch for himself when he heard the news of the shooting. McCoy was on duty and the officer officially assigned to the case. The two men arrived on the deck within seconds of one another and fired the shots that killed the sniper.


 

 

Allen Crum was the floor manager on duty at the University Coop on Guadalupe Street (also known as "The Drag") when the shooting started. After realizing what was happening, Crum exposed himself to murderous gunfire to clear the sidewalks and redirect traffic. Crum also administered first aid to a young boy who had been shot off of his bicycle; he probably saved the boy's life. He later accompanied Austin policemen to the observation deck and was on the deck when the sniper was killed.

 


 

Austin Policeman Jerry Day was one of the first officers in the Tower. He had parked his police unit west of Guadalupe Street and made his way into the building via UT's West Mall. He was the first to reach the 27th floor where panic-stricken survivors had to be evacuated. He was also on the southside of the deck with Allen Crum when McCoy and Martinez killed the sniper.

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