The father of the man who allegedly shot eight people, killing his estranged wife and seven others before a responding officer fatally shot him, has spoken out about the horrific tragedy and his strained relationship with his eldest son.
Spencer Hight, 22, allegedly went to his estranged wife’s home on Sunday and opened fire during a gathering of friends who had met there to watch football. He killed seven people, including his wife, 27-year-old Meredith Lane, who filed for divorce earlier this year.
The Dallas News identified the other seven dead as Olivia Deffner, 24; Rion Morgan, 31; James Dunlop, 29; Myah Bass, 28; Caleb Edwards, 25; Anthony Cross, 33; and Darryl William Hawkins, 22.
An additional victim who survived the shooting is still unidentified, and remains hospitalized.
Spencer’s father Chester Hight told the Dallas News that he had not seen his son in over a year despite numerous requests for him to visit his family.
“He had various excuses,” Hight said. “But promised he’d be down.”
The grieving father told the newspaper he last saw Spencer and Meredith last Thanksgiving, before they separated, when he drove to Plano to visit them and see the house they had purchased the year before.
“We had a very nice evening,” he said. “I haven’t seen either one of them since November, and I won’t see them again.”
Mr. Hight said that he and Spencer communicated mostly through texting and online messaging, and that Spencer had told him about the breakdown of his marriage in vague terms.
“They didn’t confide in me, let’s put it that way,” Hight said. “I’ve learned more from reading articles.”
Spencer’s father said his son had a bright, creative mind but struggled with alcohol abuse. The elder Hight is a devout Christian who said he loved Spencer despite the fact that he was an atheist.
“He was my first kid,” he said. “It’s a terrible way to go.”
“I love all my children, but I certainly don’t love what Spencer did. I absolutely hate it.”
Chester said he was also grieving for the other victims, and that some were his son’s longtime friends.
“I’m so sorry. We knew some of those kids,” he said.
“It’s just really sad.”
Feature photo: Instagram