A Texas woman was fatally shot by her husband as she was filing a domestic violence complaint against him and as she held their baby, officials said.
Takara Hightower, 34, was being interviewed by two Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in connection with a domestic violence complaint she filed against her husband at their Humble home on the afternoon of Sept. 22, NCIS spokesperson Jeff Houston said.
Her husband, Gregory Hightower, 37, a Navy recruiter, was also in the home at the time.
During the interview, he pulled out a pistol and fired shots, injuring one of the NCIS agents in the upper shoulder and the lower abdomen, Harris County Senior Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas M. Gilliland said. The two agents returned fire, striking Gregory Hightower somewhere in the lower stomach.
Takara Hightower, who tried to flee the home as she was carrying the couple's baby, was also shot by her husband, authorities said.
Police were not able to provide an exact age for the baby, who they said is about 1 year old and was not hurt. Neighbors who witnessed the shooting ran toward the mother to assist her and the child. Another child the couple shared, who is about 3 years old, was also in the home, police said.
Gregory Hightower then jumped into his vehicle and fled, officials said.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office responded to the home on 3200 Tullich Run Drive in Humble, about 30 minutes northeast of Houston, at around 1:30 p.m. Deputies pronounced Takara Hightower dead on the scene.
The injured NCIS agent was taken to a hospital and has been released, the agency said.
Deputies found Gregory Hightower outside his mother's apartment complex about 40 minutes away from the home and exchanged gunfire with him, police said. He was killed on the scene, they said.
The two children who were at the home during the shooting have been released to Takara Hightower’s relatives.
It was not the first time she had tried to report her husband for domestic abuse, police said.
On July 16, the Harris County Sheriff's Office responded to the home over reports of a verbal and physical altercation between the couple.
"There were mutual claims that they hit each other, and neither one of them were keen to be transported or to press charges," Gilliland said, adding that the district attorney ordered one of them to leave the home for 24 hours as a result of the incident.
Just two days before the fatal shooting, Takara Hightower had called the sheriff's office again to inquire about how she could file for a restraining order. A deputy provided her with the information, Gilliland said.
She was remembered by friends as “a fearless Lioness and protective mamma bear” in a verified GoFundMe account created to assist her family with funeral costs and support her children.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), visiting www.thehotline.org or texting LOVEIS to 22522.