The bar that served mass-murderer Spencer Hight minutes before he killed eight people, including his estranged wife, at an NFL watch party in Plano is voluntarily giving up its liquor license on Aug. 1, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said Monday. The bar, Local Public House, did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement, the TABC said.
"This case shows the critically important role that TABC-licensed businesses play in upholding public safety," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said in a statement Monday. "Anyone, including customers, business owners, or employees, should contact their local police any time they suspect a threat to the public. In some cases, shootings like this can be stopped before a life is lost."
Early in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 10, Hight stopped by the bar, according to a Plano police search warrant affidavit. He chatted up the staff, who knew him well. Then he brandished a knife spinning on the bar as he drank Miller Lite and closed his tab, a separate TABC report released in January said, trying to show off for the employees. Instead, he scared them enough that one escorted him to his car so he could put his weapons away.
When Hight and the employee got back to the car, Hight asked his escort to turn away, police said in a search warrant affidavit. He didn't want the Local Public House employee to see what was in his trunk, he said.
Eventually, Hight left the bar, and employees, spooked by his behavior, followed him the third of a mile to his estranged wife's house. When the two-car caravan arrived, the bar employees called the police. The police didn't get there in time.
That night Spencer's estranged wife, Meredith Hight, was celebrating. Her divorce was almost completed and she wanted to host a barbecue and watch party for the first Sunday of the NFL season.
A 23-year-old woman at the party told police she'd stepped into the backyard when Spencer Hight came into the house and started shooting. She told police she heard Meredith ask Spencer, "Did you really have to do this?" as he continued to pull the trigger.
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When police arrived, the witness saw Hight shoot at the first officer through the door, she told police. Eventually, the officer shot and killed Hight.
Hight's blood alcohol level was 0.33 at the time of the shooting, according to his autopsy results, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08. Parents of three of the shooting victims have sued Local Public House, alleging the bar over served him during two separate visits on Sept. 10.
Ryan Hughes, the attorney representing Local Public House in the lawsuit, did not return a request for comment about the decision to give up the permit Monday. Reached by phone, an employee at the bar said she hadn't heard anything about Local Public House's future and said she was just as surprised as everyone else by the news that the bar was giving up its liquor license.
According to the TABC, the settlement closes the state's administrative case against the bar. It is up to local authorities whether any criminal charges will be filed, according to the TABC.