Plano bar that served man before shooting spree will give up liquor license

The Plano bar that served a man alcohol before he went on a shooting rampage and killed eight people last fall has agreed to give up its liquor license.

In a settlement with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Local Public House has agreed to cancel its permit on August 1.

Spencer Hight was drinking at the bar before police say he went to his ex-wife's house down the street and shot and killed her and seven other people during a football watch party in Sept. 2017.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in Plano history. And according to the families of some of the victims, it could have been prevented.

"Spencer was reaching out,” said Richard Dunlop, father of victim James Dunlop. “Almost wanting them to stop him."

A lawsuit filed by the families of three of the eight victims claims Hight was drinking at Local Public House in the hours before the shooting on September 10. It says bartenders there were "fully aware of Hight's extreme intoxication and [that he was] armed with a gun and a knife," even saying "that he had to be intoxicated 'to do the things that [he wanted] to do' that night."

The suit also stated a bartender "thought something bad was going to happen and asked [the bar owner] if he should call the police..." but was told not to.

Later that night, Plano police say he drove down the street with a .33 blood alcohol level, an AR-15, a pistol and a knife, and murdered his estranged wife and seven of their friends at a Dallas Cowboys watch party.

Now, almost a year later, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has reached a settlement with the bar. Local Public House did not admit any wrongdoing, but did agree to cancel its permit.

In a statement, the executive director of TABC said, "Anyone, including customers, business owners or employees, should contact their local police any time they suspect a threat to the public. In some cases, shootings like this can be stopped."

The mother of 22-year-old Darryl Hawkins spoke to us over the phone in agreement.

"The eight precious lives that were lost could have been prevented only if they had called the police at that time,” said Tonnia Hawkins, mother of victim Darryl Hawkins.

Tonnia hopes all bar owners and bartenders pay attention to this.

"If there's someone in the bar that's intoxicated, do something about it,” she said.

According to the lawsuit, a bartender there kept serving Hight even after he pulled out weapons at the bar.

Bar ownership did not respond to calls for comment, and it’s not known if the location will close. Because of this settlement, TABC has closed its investigation into this incident.

TABC says the bar has had five other complaints since 2013. Three of the complaints resulted in violations.

The families who filed the lawsuit against the bar are asking for damages, including funeral expenses. The bar’s management told FOX 4 that they would not be making any comments.

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