AUSTIN -- The Austin police officer who helped stop Charles Whitman's 1966 sniper rampage from atop the University of Texas tower has died.
Houston McCoy fired two blasts from his shotgun to bring down Whitman, who killed 16 people during nearly two hours of terror on the UT campus. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association, said McCoy died Thursday in the rural West Texas town of Menard.
McCoy was 72 and had been battling a terminal illness for the past year.
Whitman wounded dozens of others before McCoy and fellow officer Ramiro Martinez made their way to the observation deck. Martinez also fired on Whitman.
Watch McCoy's final interview where he reflects on the 1966 UT Tower shootings.
Vincent called McCoy a good police officer who "answered the call" unsure whether he would live upon reaching the top of the tower.
The Austin Police Department released a statement Thursday regarding McCoy's death.
“It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of former APD Officer Houston McCoy,” said APD Chief Art Acevedo in the press release. “I was privileged to have met and spent time with Houston and his wonderful family the past few years and will miss him dearly. Please take a moment to pray for Houston and his family.”
McCoy was known for being humble, kind and sensitive and was quick to point out that he was not the only officer to help end Whitman’s rampage.
Funeral arrangements for McCoy are pending.
Check back for more information on this developing story.