A Texas Man Killed His Ex-Wife & Her Friends at a Football Watching Party

In Texas this past Sunday, a man shot and killed eight people at a Dallas Cowboys watching party.  The victims include the shooter’s estranged wife, Meredith Hight, 27, who was hosting the party.  The shooter, Spencer Hight, 32, was killed by a responding officer, according to The New York Daily News.

Meredith Hight and Spencer Hight had been separated for several months, and Meredith had filed for divorce in July.  The Dallas Cowboys watching party was supposed to be a symbol of Meredith’s new freedom and sign of her moving on from her difficult past.

 "It was officially 'out with the old and in with the new,'” Meredith’s mother, Debbie Lane, told WFAA on Tuesday. "It was her reclaiming her life, and she was thrilled to be doing that. It was the happiest she'd been in years. Years."

Lane says that the shooting was Spencer Hight’s reaction to Meredith moving on:  "I think he saw our comfort, ease, and happiness... and her embracing new life, and resented it to the maximum and responded the way he did.”

The shooting was reported at 8 pm on Sunday, according to ABC.  When officers arrived, victims were found both outside and in the home, and the shooter was still active inside.  The officer then fatally shot Spencer Hight. There was a total of seven deaths at the crime scene, and two more victims were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Several of the victims and party guests were also friends of Spencer Hight.

According to Lane, Meredith and Spencer had met in 2009 when they both attended the University of Texas at Dallas and lived in the same apartment complex. They married in 2011, but when Spencer lost his job at Texas Instruments, they faced financial troubles that led to their separation.  Lane says that Spencer was violent to Meredith on two occasions, and that he had a drinking problem.

Domestic violence advocates and activists have argued that Hight's case is an example of the kind of pitfalls a domestic violence survivor or victim can encounter once they leave an abusive relationship or situation. After all, statistics show that 94 percent of victims of intimate partner murder-suicides are women. Per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV):

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime,
  • 72 percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partners and 94 percent of the victims of these murder suicides are women.
  • 20% of victims in homicides were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders, according to a study of intimate partner homicides.

Additionally, it sheds light on the more complicated realities surrounding the "just leave him" narratives —and why it's so difficult for victims and survivors to make those choices. 

The investigation is ongoing with the Texas Rangers and Plano Police Department, but they are not pursuing any other suspects.

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Hannah is a national feature writer for Her Campus as well as a chapter writer for the University of Michigan. Achievements include being voted "Biggest Belieber" (2010) and "Most Likely to Have a Child Born Addicted to Starbucks" (2016), as well as taking a selfie with the back of Jim Harbaugh's head.  Goals for the future include taking a selfie with the front of Jim Harbaugh's head.  She's also an obsessive Instagrammer, so hit her with a follow @hannah.harshe