Details Emerge About the Cowboys Watch Party Massacre in Plano

The investigation closed roads early Monday morning.
The investigation closed roads early Monday morning. Plano PD via Twitter
Meredith Hight was just trying to host cookout to celebrate the Cowboys with her seven friends. She invited them over early Sunday afternoon, and a neighbor later reported hearing them laughing as they grilled. A few hours later, nearly all were dead.

Nine people were killed Sunday night, with one critically injured, after Hight's estranged husband, Spencer, began a shooting rampage. Police said he used several different firearms. Officers killed Spencer Hight, 32, making him the ninth fatality that night. Police called the shooting rampage “unprecedented” in Plano.

The victims were Meredith Hight, 27; Anthony Cross, 33; Olivia Deffner, 24; James Dunlop, 29; Darryl Hawkins, 22; Rion Morgan, 31; Myah Bass, 28; and Caleb Edwards, 25.

Police haven’t confirmed Spencer Hight's relation to the other victims, but people at the watch party knew him.

“The officer went directly into fire and stopped the shooter’s ability to continue to kill people.” – Plano Police Chief Gregory Rushin

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Meredith Hight owned the home in the 1700 block of Spring Creek Parkway where the shootings occurred. Her parents told KXAS-TV (NBC 5) that she was going through a divorce. Her husband was spotted at a nearby bar before he went to the home. He seemed upset, according a friend who spoke with NBC 5 but remained anonymous. 

Monday would have been the couple's wedding anniversary.

A neighbor said she heard shots and could smell gunpowder as she opened the door at about 8 p.m. She also heard police yell “hands up” before more gunfire erupted.

At a news conference Monday, Plano Police Chief Gregory Rushin painted a scene like one in a movie when he described what happened to the lone officer who arrived first at the home.

“The first thing he heard was shots being fired,” Rushin said. “He saw people in the backyard, down, that were shot. So he knew instantly what was going on.”

The officer, who wasn’t identified, decided he couldn’t wait for backup and entered the home to stop Spencer Hight. The officer found the gunman and ended his rampage.

“The officer went directly into fire, where fire was taking place, and stopped the shooter’s ability to continue to kill people,” Rushin said. “I think the officer showed great bravery.”

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The shootings occurred at a home on Spring Creek Parkway in Plano.
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Police found seven people dead and two survivors critically wounded. One of those survivors later died at the hospital.

A motive for the shooting rampage still hasn’t been confirmed, but witnesses they saw Spencer Hight and a woman, possibly Meredith Hight, arguing before gunfire erupted.

"As they were arguing, the woman was trying to go back in," Crystal Sugg, one of the witnesses, told reporters at the scene. "And as she was going back in the house, you can see the man pull out his gun and just start releasing."
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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.

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