Early in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 10, Spencer Hight stopped by a local bar, according to Plano police. He chatted up the staff, who knew him well. Then he brandished a knife and a pistol, 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 celebrate by hosting 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 Spencer Hight shoot at the first officer through the door, she told police. Eventually, the officer shot and killed Hight.
But the massacres didn't end; Hight killed his wife and seven others — Anthony Michael Cross, 33; Olivia Nicole Deffner, 24; James Richard Dunlop, 29; Darryl William Hawkins, 22; Rion Christopher Morgan, 31; Myah Sade Bass, 28; and Caleb Seth Edwards, 25.
Shortly after the shooting, Plano police Chief Gregory Rushin said the officer who killed Hight stopped a bigger massacre. "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."
Officers found Hight with an AR-15 assault weapon attached to his body by a rifle sling. Hight had a .38-caliber pistol in his waistband, and police found a rifle magazine in the hallway of Meredith Hight's home, according to the search warrant. Hight also had a folding knife, police said. Later, when police searched Spencer Hight's apartment, they found another rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition "in plain view."