Texas officer who ended '66 UT sniper rampage dies

By PAUL J. WEBER | December 27, 2012 | 8:32 PM EST

FILE - In this Aug. 2, 1966 file photo, from left, Allen Crum, university co-op employee; Austin policemen Ramiro Martinez, Houston McCoy and Jerry Day, the four men who braved the deadly accurate sniper fire by Charles Joseph Whitman from the University of Texas tower, meet with newsmen in Austin, Texas. McCoy, the Austin police officer who fired two blasts from his shotgun to bring down Whitman, has died. (AP Photo/Ted Powers, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — 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.

Vincent called McCoy a good police officer who "answered the call" unsure whether he would live upon reaching the top of the tower.