Ricardo Romo was not in Austin in the summer of 1966. A record-holding runner, Romo spent the summer training on the beaches of Southern California. Romo’s brother Henry was on campus and witnessed part of the tragic drama.
Henry Romo was in the engineering building when it went into lockdown, but he snuck out the back door.
Ricardo Romo says Whitman was rumored to have a problem with pills. His brother said Charles Whitman dropped his briefcase in the library one day and it was full of pill bottles.
“The buzz was that he was this sort of angry person…[that] he was high on some kind of drugs,” Romo says.
The story of the shooting made international news and Romo says it spurred discussions across college campuses about campus safety and mental health services.
“It just hadn’t occurred to me that anybody who was educated, going to college, could be, could be so evil,” Romo says.
When Romo came back to Austin, he said didn’t look up at the UT Tower for a long time because it reminded him of great tragedy, sadness, grief and shame.
Romo went on to become President of UT-San Antonio.