Ramiro “Ray” Martinez started with the Austin Police Department in 1960. He was watching the noon news when he found out about the UT tower shooting. He called the police station to find out if he could help and his lieutenant ordered him to keep traffic from going into the university.
When Martinez arrived on campus he found traffic was already being diverted, so he ended up working his way toward the South Mall and approached the Jefferson Davis statue where he saw several victims.
Martinez decided to go to the Tower to try to “neutralize” Whitman; he said he would likely have been killed if he had stayed on the Mall to tend to victims. He prayed as he took the elevator up to the 26th floor of the Tower.
“You let your training take over,” Martinez says. “You’re kind of like a robot, remote controlled so to speak.”
Martinez was the first person to make his way out onto the observation deck. Close behind Martinez was civilian Allen Crum. As Martinez edged around the observation deck, fellow APD Officer Houston McCoy approached behind him. Martinez emptied his gun at Whitman. McCoy then fired his shotgun at Whitman. Finally, Martinez says he took McCoy’s gun from him and fired one last shot into Whitman’s body at near point-blank range.
“Bullets keep coming up at us. They crack – you could hear the crack as they go over your head, and then they’d hit the tower. Dust would come down, rain down in little particles of stone.”
The Martinez family has put together a website detailing his account of the tower shooting. Read Martinez’ essay “For Whom the Tower Chimes.”