Ramiro Martinez

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Ramiro "Ray" Martinez (born 1937) is a former Austin Police Department officer that accompanied Officer Houston McCoy when McCoy shot and killed sniper Charles Whitman at the University of Texas at Austin on August 1, 1966.

Ramiro Martinez became a narcotics investigator, a Texas Ranger, and a Justice of the Peace in New Braunfels, Texas. In 2003, Martinez published his memoirs, entitled, They Call Me Ranger Ray: From the UT Tower Sniper to Corruption in South Texas.[1]

Martinez was born in Kent County, Texas and attended Rotan High School in Rotan, Texas, graduating in 1956. He enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin, but dropped out after one semester due to financial difficulties. He later joined the United States Army and served three years as a combat medic. After his discharge from the Army, Martinez joined the Austin Police Department in 1960, graduating from the police academy in 1961.

Martinez was off duty on August 1, 1966 when the news of the Texas Tower sniper shooting aired on television. Martinez reported for duty and was told to assist with traffic control. Arriving on the scene, Martinez proceeded to the top of the tower with Officer Houston McCoy, where McCoy shot sniper Charles Whitman dead. TIME reported on August 12, 1966 that Martinez had hit Whitman with all six of his pistol shots; however, the autopsy would later reveal that all six shots missed, and the shotgun, fired by Officer McCoy, killed Whitman.[2][3][4]

After Houston McCoy killed Whitman, Martinez ran from the scene yelling, "I got him...I got him". This was confirmed by multiple witnesses, and although Martinez was initially touted as the officer who killed Whitman, it was later proven to be false. In a reunion of officers who were involved in the take-down of Charles Whitman arranged by ABC News, while Martinez was invited, he declined to appear.

In 1976, Martinez sued the producers of the made-for-TV film The Deadly Tower for negative and racist depictions of his wife.[5] She was portrayed in the movie as a nagging Hispanic woman. In real life she is a blond haired, blue-eyed German. He received an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.[6][7]

Martinez left the Austin Police Department around 1968 to briefly run a restaurant in downtown Austin. He later joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1969 as a narcotics agent. He served in that role for four years before joining the Texas Rangers. Martinez was part of the task force that eventually brought about the indictment of George Parr, the so-called "Duke of Duval County". After retiring from the Rangers in 1991, he worked as a private investigator and later served four years as a Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, Comal County.

Martinez self-published his memoir, They Call Me Ranger Ray, in 2005.[8] In the book, he discusses his actions during the Tower incident from his point of view, and his experiences as a Texas Ranger.[9]

On the 40th Anniversary of the Charles Whitman massacre, the City of Austin proclaimed August 1, 2006 "Ramiro Martinez Day".[10][11]

Martinez now resides in New Braunfels, Texas.


  1. ^ Martinez, Ramiro. Ray Martinez: They Call Me Ranger Ray." New Braunfels, Texas: Rio Bravo Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-9760162-0-6. Retrieved: November 2, 2010.
  2. ^ "The Madman in the Tower". TIME. August 12, 1966. Retrieved 2006-07-29. 
  3. ^ http://austinpolice.com/magline%20pdfs/2009-vol1-5.pdf
  4. ^ Flippin, Perry. "UT tower shooting heroes to be honored". Go San Angelo.com. 
  5. ^ Kendall R. Phillips (2004). Framing public memory. University of Alabama Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8173-1389-0. Retrieved 2010-06-21. Both policemen who shot Whitman sued MGM after the made-for-TV movie was released. Martinez received a settlement; the other policeman, Houston McCoy, whose name was not used in the film, received nothing, even though the film portrays him standing by passively as the actor playing Martinez fires the fatal shot. Whitman's autopsy showed that it was McCoy's bullet that killed the sniper. 
  6. ^ Cox, Mike (16 March 1978). "Lawman to get cash in settlement of Whitman film suit". Austin American-Statesman. 
  7. ^ Paul Mavis |The Deadly Tower : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video | http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/42081/deadly-tower-the/
  8. ^ Ramiro Martinez (2005). They Call Me Ranger Ray. Rio Bravo Press. ISBN 978-0-9760162-0-5. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Hero Talks About U.T. Shooting Spree". WOAI.com. Retrieved 2006-06-26. [dead link]
  10. ^ Egan, Andrew (July 28, 2006). "A Texas hero has his day". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 2006-07-29. [dead link]
  11. ^ Former APD Officer Honored on Sniper Anniversary, KLBJ, 7/27/2006

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