The estranged husband of a Texas woman hosting a football watch party at her Plano home has been identified as the gunman who shot her and six of her friends dead Sunday night.
Spencer Hight, 32, was shot dead by police after killing Meredith Lane Hight and the six unidentified victims at a home on West Spring Creek Parkway, Meredith’s mother told the Dallas Morning News. Two others were wounded in the shooting.
Spencer and Meredith Hight were going through a divorce, according to court records. They owned the home where the shooting occurred together, but he had not lived there since March, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Meredith Hight hosted a party to watch her favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, play Sunday afternoon, and then the local team, the Dallas Cowboys, play Sunday night.
The shooting happened about 8 p.m. Sunday in the 1700 block of West Spring Creek Parkway, near Custer Road, according to KXAS-TV.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hight’s Wife Filed for Divorce in July After Posting in May About Needing a Roommate to Live in Her Plano House
Meredith Lane Hight, 27, filed for divorce from her husband, Spencer James Hight, on July 17, according to Collin County court records obtained by Heavy. The case was still pending in the 470th District Court. Hight hired an attorney, Logan Odeneal, while her husband was representing himself, according to court records. Odeneal could not immediately be reached for comment and documents related to the case were not available.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Meredith Hight cited “discord or conflict of personalities” in her divorce filing.
They were married in 2011, according to social media postings. Collin County property records obtained by Heavy show they bought the home where the shooting occurred, located at 1712 West Spring Creek Parkway, together on October 9, 2015.
In May, a few months before filing for divorce, Meredith Hight, who was originally from Atlanta, posted on Facebook about wanting to rent out a room in the home to help with her expenses.
“Who needs a place to live? (3bd/2ba house w yard and garage) I’m needing some help with the bills starting anywhere from 2 weeks from now to a month or so, but need a roommate by July,” she wrote. “Some things to remember: 2 large pitbulls live here, and they only do well with other large dogs. I would need our animals to meet before committing to any agreement. No kids (sorry not sorry, I love your kids but they would not love it here). I intend to fix this place up and rent or sell down the line so lease terms would be short term to six months at a time.”
It is not clear if she had roommates living in the home at the time of the shooting.
2. A Witness Says there Was an Argument & Hight Pulled Out His Gun & Just Started Shooting
Witnesses say the shooting occurred after an argument broke out during a party to watch the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants in a Sunday Night Football game, the first of the year for the Texas NFL team, KDFW-TV reports.
Crystal Sugg, a witness, told reporters that she saw an altercation involving a woman and the shooter about 7:45 p.m.
“A man was arguing with a woman. They were standing outside and they were arguing,” Sugg said. “And as they were arguing you could kind of hear little pieces of it, but you really couldn’t. And as they were arguing, the woman was trying to go back in. And as she was going back in the house, you seen the man pull out his gun and just start releasing. So as he released I ran back in, because I didn’t want to get hit by nothing. But he just started letting them go.”
Police have not said if they know of a motive for the shooting or confirmed the details reported by Sugg.
Witnesses told reporters at the scene that they heard 30 to 40 shots coming from the house. It is not clear if those shots also include the bullets fired by responding police officers.
Steven Featherland told KDFW-TV, he arrived at his house as police were already positioning themselves.
“My neighbor had already heard the first couple of shots, and we came outside and next thing you know, all you heard was like, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, it was like 30 to 40 rounds. That’s when we both went inside,” he said.
Stacey Glover, another witness, told the Dallas Morning News the party started in the afternoon and she saw people outside grilling and laughing. About 8 p.m. she heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder when opening her door. Police then arrived and she heard “hands up” before more shots were fired.
3. A Responding Officer Went Into the House After Hearing Gunshots & Killed Hight After Seeing Multiple Victims, Police Say
Plano Police officers were called to a “weapons call” about 8 p.m. at the West Spring Creek Parkway home, according to radio transmissions recorded on a police scanner. The dispatch audio reveals that the caller said there was somebody with a gun trying to get into her home. When officers arrived, they heard and saw shots being fired inside the home, and shortly after, the gunman was shot dead by police, according to the scanner audio. You can listen to the dispatch audio below, courtesy of Broadcastify.com:
The officers reported that at least eight people were shot inside the home, and called for several ambulances to respond to the scene. One of the officers was near the scene when the call came in and was the first to go into the house.
“After (the officer) heard the gunshots, he made entry and that’s when he observed several victims inside and then engaged the suspect,” police spokesman David Tilley told the Dallas Morning News.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected to an earlier assault that occurred near the scene, according to radio dispatches. The officer who responded to that call said the victim told him one of the suspects in the assault matched the description of the shooter. The victim said two people were involved in that assault, but it was unclear if the two incidents were connected or if there was anyone else involved in the shooting if they were connected.
The conditions of the two victims who were wounded, but survived, the shooting were not immediately known. One of the victims was shot in the cheek, according to radio dispatches. At least one other person was at the house and was not injured and refused medical treatment, according to emergency radio transmissions.
The victims were both rushed to local hospitals.
The Dallas Morning News described a heart-wrenching scene involving a person who said he knew the victims. The man asked those at the house what the number was where the shooting occurred, the newspaper reports:
When he was told the house number, he doubled over as if in pain. He said his friends had a Dallas Cowboys watch party.
‘I’m friends with probably everyone that was in that house,’ he said, before walking over to police.
As he talked to officers, he doubled over again. A few minutes later, he sprinted toward his car and drove away.
A neighbor, Lauryn Nichols, told the Dallas Morning News she was shocked by what happened. She said a friend had been at the house, but she was not sure what had happened to that person, according to the newspaper.
“I’m worried,” Nichols told the newspaper. “It’s like one big family here in Plano.”
4. Hight, Who Worked for HCL Technologies, Went by the Name Kal, Short for Kaltaris, Which He Used for Art & Video Games
Spencer Hight worked as an analyst for HCL Technologies, a software company that is based in India and has offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He started working there in June. He previously worked as a systems analyst at Texas Instruments.
On Facebook, he used the name Kal Hight, short for Kaltaris, a nickname he used for his art and in video games.
He had a page under that name on Deviant Art, but had not posted there in several years. He also used that nickname on a YouTube channel, which includes videos of him playing games, including Hurtworld.
Hight posted on Facebook just hours before the shooting, “How best to weather a hurricane: Don’t live near the coast.”
He had also recently been complaining about back pain in Facebook posts.
“Lack of sleep due to chronic back pain made for a pretty shitty holiday weekend. Here’s hoping the doctor can sort me out,” he wrote on September 5.
On August 1 he wrote, “Aaaand my back is f*cked…this pain med/muscle relaxer garbage the doctor put me on makes me a damn zombie. Don’t try to move heavy furniture without help people.”
In June, Hight wrote that he had been cast in an acting role in the new Coen brothers Western TV series, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” which is set for Netflix.
“It’s official. I have been cast in the Coen brothers new western tv series and we start filming July 25th. Not sure if more excited or nervous,” he wrote, later adding, “I knew I was on board weeks ago but I just got the actual dates for filming and sent in my measurements for wardrobe. … I think it’s a small part but all I know is there’s a saloon scene and another unspecified scene they want me for. It’s in new mexico.”
It is not clear if Hight actually filmed a role in the series, which is set to debut in 2018.
In May, he shared a meme about what to do if your ex-wife is choking:
“Well. Someone is bitter lol 😂,” a friend replied.
He wrote earlier that month about having to pay more for insurance on his car.
“And the hits just keep on coming. This has been my toughest year to date,” he wrote. “Because of all the hail damage claims in the area they jacked my insurance up by over 30% even though I haven’t submitted a claim. Christ I hate this sh*t”
In April, he wrote about his “ex-wife” forgetting to pick him up at the airport.
“Wonderful ex wife left me stranded at the airport after swearing all week she would pick me up…And now she’s ignoring my calls. Typical. Welcome back to Dallas,” he wrote.
When friends expressed surprise about the “ex-wife” reference, he replied, “Things have gone completely tits up over the last few months.”
In February, he shared a story about a domestic violence incident, writing, “Sharing this because apparently the family of this scumbag is actually threatening people on fb who post this.”
5. He Had No Criminal Record & Grew Up in Conroe, Texas
Spencer Hight does not appear to have had a criminal record. Police have not said if they had any history with Hight or if they had responded to the home in the past. Hight, who is survived by his parents, his brother and his two sisters, was a San Diego-area native and moved to Conroe, Texas, when he was 4, according to an old blog.
“At the tender age of four I was packed up along with a hodgepodge of packed boxes and the family dog to be relocated (family and all) to the steaming, arid sweat-lodge that is Texas. Five schools and twenty years later here I am, in Dallas, not far removed from my original Texas residence in north Houston,” Spencer Hight wrote on the blog in 2008. “Who I am today developed from a coupling of experiences in art and literature, a general sense of apathetic procrastination, and a subtle disdain for any given social climate. Most of the vaguely distinguishable character traits I exude today were founded in my last years of high school, and the five years that have followed.”
He wrote in 2008, “After a semester at (the University of Houston), and a three year break from college I am now a Junior at (the University of Texas at Dallas) majoring in Arts and Technology, attempting to make something of my artistic interests, despite the obvious salary truncation I will undoubtedly be faced with after recently switching from an engineering degree. … I prefer to waste my free time working in my garage, fabricating Godonlyknowswhat out of steel, wood, glass, and anything else I can shape with my hands and a ridiculous arsenal of power tools and torches.”
Hight wrote similar thoughts about life in recent Facebook posts.
“The world is my oyster…and I f*cking hate oysters,” he wrote in July. He wrote that same month, “Still trying to find an upside to being socially inept.”
Police are still working to uncover what led to the shooting.
More than 30 police officers were at the scene Sunday night continuing to investigate, according to the Dallas Morning News. Police were expected to be at the home throughout the night, the newspaper reports.
“I’ve been here all my life,” police spokesman David Tilley told the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
Plano averages about four to five homicides per year, according to online data.
The Texas Rangers were responding to the scene to lead the investigation because a Plano officer was involved, according to the newspaper. Plano Police said on Twitter that West Spring Creek between Green Oaks and Blue Ridge will be closed Monday morning during rush hour traffic for the investigation.