Guns

Gunman Opens Fire in University of Texas Library

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A frightening scene at the University of Texas on Tuesday that brought back horrible memories of 1966 -- a man with an assault rifle opened fire inside a library on the same Austin campus that was the site of one of the most infamous shooting sprees in U.S. history.

Armed with an AK-47, the still-unidentified man went to the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library and started shooting. Fortuntately, no one was hit. The gunman then killed himself. Police are now searching for a possible second gunman outside the library where shots were also fired.

Randall Wilhite, an adjunct law professor at the university, said he was driving to class when he saw "students start scrambling behind wastebaskets, trees and monuments," and then a young man carrying an assault rifle sprinting along the street.

"He was running right in front of me ... and he shot what I thought were three more shots ... not at me. In my direction, but not at me, clearly not at me," Wilhite said.

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The professor said the gunman had the opportunity to shoot several students and Wilhite, but he did not.

Police were patrolling nearby buildings with bomb-sniffing dogs to hunt for the possible second man and make sure no explosives had been left behind. "What we're doing right now is being methodical to eliminate the second suspect," Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

Classes were cancelled, and the 50,000-student campus was quickly emptied to allow police to do their job.

"Campus is very quiet. You can barely see anyone moving," said university employee Jennifer Scalora said.

"The students did their part, they cleared the streets, they cleared the grounds in a very quick manner," Acevedo said.

Back on Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th floor observation deck at the UT clock tower in the middle of campus and began randomly shooting at people below. He killed 16 people and wounded nearly three dozen before police killed him.