PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The Plano bar at the center of the city’s deadliest mass shooting may be closing its doors after forfeiting its liquor license during an active investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The Local Public House’s liquor license will be gone by Wednesday, according to a TABC report that concluded a months-long investigation.
The bar allegedly served a highly-intoxicated Spencer Hight and ignored his threats of violence and his brandishing of weapons before he left to kill his estranged wife Meredith, the best man from his wedding, and six other people at a Dallas Cowboys game watch party in September 2017.
The TABC report says that the owner of the bar agreed to cancel its permit effective August 1, but not as an admission of any wrongdoing, the document states.
According to the TABC, it is now closing out its administrative case. This does not impact a possible criminal case against the bar or a civil case launched by some members of the victims’ families.
“This case shows the critically important role that TABC-licensed businesses play in upholding public safety,” said TABC executive director Bentley Nettles. “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 before a life is lost.”
This news follows a scathing report by the TABC in June and a lawsuit by some of the victims’ family members.
Tonnia Hawkins, the mother of victim Daryl Hawkins, said, “I’m happy that the bar is relinquishing their license. If the bar would have followed the law, this tragedy could have been prevented. I pray that other families will never have to go through what our son, Darryl W. Hawkins, and seven others had to face.”
The report says that bartenders noticed Hight acting “weird,” and that he had a knife and a gun. Surveillance video shows Hight staggering around the bar. But the bar’s owner told the bartenders not to call police.
“All the rules they didn’t follow, that they broke,” started Woody Dunlop, the father of another victim, “it’s a privilege, not a right, to be able to serve alcohol to others.”
Later that evening, Hight went to the Plano home of his estranged wife and shot and killed her and seven other people. The officers who responded shot and killed Hight.
The TABC report accuses the bar of continuing to serve an already drunk customer. According to the report, Hight ordered two gin and tonics at 2:39 p.m. at the Local Public House on September 10 and then left. Hight returned at 6:38 p.m. and ordered two Miller Lite beers and a shot of lemon vodka.
“They had an obligation to stop him before he got out of that bar,” added Dunlop.