PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Tonnia and Darryl Hawkins are one of three families who’ve filed a lawsuit over Plano’s deadliest mass murder.
After spending much of the last nine months wondering why their son died, they now believe a bar down the street could have prevented the shooting.
“This tragedy could have been stopped,” said Darryl, who shared a name with his son, the massacre’s youngest victim.
Until recently, the Hawkins made daily visits to the crime scene.
“This is where our son last was,” explained Tonnia.
They like to remember where their son, Darryl, parked his car and imagine how he may have spent his final moments.
“I can imagine him walking to the front door, laughing, having fun,” she said.
The news that night was so horrific. His mother texted him that night last September, after hearing about the news.
“There was a shooting tonight in Plano. 7 people and 2 wounded off West Spring Creek Pkwy,” read the message.
She had no clue idea Darryl, 22, was one of the victims.
The response from Plano police came over the phone the next day.
“I said, ‘Please tell me that my son received a ticket for speeding or he was put in jail,’” recalled Tonnia. “I was praying, let it be one of the two. And, she said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you that your son was in the gunfire and he’s not with us anymore.’”
Spencer Hight, the man who murdered eight people inside his estranged wife’s home, was shot and killed by a responding officer.
The Hawkins are suing Local Public House bar and grill, where Hight spent his last hour.
A Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found Hight showed bartenders “a large fixed blade knife” and a “pistol.” Its report claims he appeared “highly intoxicated” and told a bartender he had “ to go do some dirty work” and “couldn’t do the things I want to do tonight without being this intoxicated.”
“A person with a normal mind would know what his intention was,” said Hawkins’ father. “We want accountability.”
The bartender told investigators he reached out to the bar’s owners worried something bad would happen, but claims he was directed not to call police.
The Hawkins say they want people to know there was a chance — a moment — for someone to save lives. If only someone had spoken up, if only someone had done something, they believe their son and seven other victims would be alive today.
Employees at Local Public House and an attorney representing its owners told CBS11 they had no comment.