A Houston-area Navy recruiter fatally shot his wife with a pistol as she was filing a domestic violence complaint against him, NBC News reported. Takara Hightower, 34, was speaking to two investigators on Sept. 22 when Gregory Hightower, 37, pulled out a pistol and started shooting at them. When she tried to run out of the house while holding their baby, he shot her too, killing her and leaving the infant alive.
Gregory Hightower shot and injured one of the two Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents who had been talking to his wife, and they both fired back, hitting him in the stomach. In addition to the infant, the couple’s 3-year-old was in their home at the time. Hightower fled the scene after taking a bullet to the stomach and escaped in his car. Deputies shot and killed him three hours later.
The police had “previously responded to the residence as part of a ‘domestic prevention call for service for both parties claiming injury to each other,’” sheriff’s office spokesman Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland told the Navy Times.
An Everytown for Gun Safety study found that domestic abusers who own firearms are five times more likely to kill their partners, and roughly 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner each month. Domestic abusers are also extremely dangerous to the public writ large: A full two-thirds of mass shootings in America are linked to domestic violence.
The situation is particularly dire in Texas, which allows permitless carry and where more than 90 percent of women murdered by men “are killed by someone they know as boyfriends, husbands, former relationships, or as stalkers,” according to Texas Gun Sense.
Unfortunately, it is fairly easy for abusers to frame themselves as the victim in domestic violence incidents. A 2015 study by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found that 24 percent of women who have called the police to report intimate partner violence were then arrested or threatened with arrest themselves, which certainly has a chilling effect on reporting.