In 1966, Charles Whitman took a position about 300 feet…

In 1966, Charles Whitman took a position about 300 feet above the city of Austin, Texas, with a 6mm bolt-action rifle topped with a telescopic sight and proceeded to target innocent civilians going about their daily routines. Responding officers and citizens successfully returned fire, some with similar weapons, but were unable to hit Whitman, who continued his accurate fire out to 500 yards. Either by prior knowledge or trial and error, Whitman was able to hit dozens of people, killing 10 from his high-angle perch while the defensive fire was found to have impacted high, mostly on the tower’s clock face.

Only when two brave individuals stormed the parapet and engaged Whitman in a short-range firefight was the situation resolved. What did Charles Whitman know about high-angle marksmanship that all the other suppressive-fire shooters failed to understand? What about that tragic and horrible event can serve as a lesson for law enforcement precision rifle shooters that could ensure success in similar situations? Those questions formed the basis for the Texas Tactical Police Officer Association (TTPOA) “Sniper Response in a Public Venue” course, which teaches professional snipers how to make highly accurate, high-angle long-distance shots.

Americans enjoy gathering by hundreds or thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—to watch our kids’ high school football games, athletes play sports, musicians perform or even monster trucks roar and jump. These are presented at arenas and stadiums that can be found in every county and city all over this country. Something terrorists call “soft targets.” The Police Sniper Response to a Public Venue course sponsored by the TTPOA provides the country’s best police precision rifle shooters, the cream of the S.W.A.T. sniper crop, the training and practice to plan and provide protection if someone in the crowd decides to go berserk, fulfill a violent plan or enact a terrorist plot. This course ensures that trained law enforcement and special-operation shooters can be deployed, without any fanfare and generally unseen, with the ability to observe and, if necessary, intervene with surgical precision to stop the threat.

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