Before Virginia Tech and Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora and Orlando, there was the University of Texas tower shooting. More than 50 years ago on August 1, 1966, Charles J. Whitman, a 28-year-old engineering student and Marine-trained sniper, took a stockpile of guns and ammunition up to the University of Texas clock tower in Austin and opened fire in a deadly, terrifying barrage that lasted 96 minutes. It was modern America's first mass shooting and it shocked the nation.
Whitman killed 14 people (a 15th victim from the campus shooting died in 2001 due to injuries caused by the gunman) and injured more than 30. This was after slaying his wife and mother in their homes the same day with a knife and gun. Not counted in the total death toll was the unborn child of an injured woman.
Since that violent day, mass shootings have become increasingly commonplace in American life, fueling questions about gun control, terrorism, mental health, bullying, school safety and Congressional inaction.
Here's a look at some of the deadliest mass shootings the country has seen.
In this photo, Sgt. Robert W. Turner, 50, of the University of Texas security police, looks out from the spot on the observation tower of the administration building in Texas where Whitman was gunned down by police.