Another victim has died from the mass shooting that occurred in a Plano, Texas, neighborhood Sunday night, during a Dallas Cowboys football watch party on Sunday, bringing the death total to nine, including the gunman.
Meredith Hight, 27, reportedly owned the home where she was hosting a party with friends, and they were just getting ready to watch the Cowboys’ football game when the incident occurred.
Meredith’s mother, Debbie Lane, said in an interview with WFAA8 ABC News that her daughter was originally from Georgia, and had recently filed for divorce from her husband, Spencer Hight. The couple was married on Sep. 11, 2011. Monday would have been their sixth wedding anniversary.
A witness who wished to remain anonymous said an irate Spencer Hight had shown up at a bar down the street just a few hours before the shooting, ranting about his estranged wife, and had placed a gun and a knife on the bar.
Lane said her daughter loved to cook, and this was her first time to host a party for friends since the divorce. She said there had been two previous incidents of violence during their marriage.
According to witnesses, Spencer Hight showed up at the party and got into an argument with Meredith in front of the house before following her inside, where he then opened fire on the entire party.
The first officer to respond to the call approached the home from the back, saw bodies in the back yard, and heard the gunman still shooting inside. Plano Police Chief Greg Rushin said officers are trained to wait for backup and enter a scene in pairs, but in this case, the officer didn’t have time to wait and went into the home alone to confront the gunman.
The officer ultimately shot and killed the gunman to prevent him from killing anyone else.
“When something like this occurs, you can’t wait, you have to go in, because seconds matter,” Rushin stated.
“That man is a hero and may peace be with him to have to walk into such a scenario and neutralize the suspect,” said Rushin. The officer has been placed on paid leave, as is customary whenever an officer fires a weapon.
In all, there were nine victims shot by Spencer Hight, with his estranged wife reportedly being the first person he killed. In addition to the gunman, seven victims were dead at the scene, and two victims were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
On Monday, one of the victims at the hospital died; the other is reported to be in critical condition as of Monday evening.
A neighbor who lives directly behind the home gave her report of the incident. “We were watching the Cowboys game and we heard gunfire. And my son was out on the patio. I jumped up, went outside, smelled the gun smoke or the residue from the gunfire. I told the boys to come back in and heard another round of gunfire. It was really scary,” she said. “We just came in. You know, we just didn’t know if there was still another shooter and we could see the cops looking up and down the alley. So, I just wanted to make sure all the doors were locked and that somebody wouldn’t run to our house and try to come in.”
All the victims of the shooting have not yet been identified, but police officials said they were all believed to be in their 20s and 30s.
The shooting has been described as the worst mass murder in Plano’s history.
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