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Navy recruiter kills wife, dies after 2 shootouts with NCIS and police

Crime scene tape. (Prathan Keawkhum/Dreamstime/TNS)
September 27, 2022

A senior enlisted Navy recruiter killed his wife and got into a shootout with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special (NCIS) agents she was speaking with before he too was fatally shot on Thursday.

In a statement to American Military News, an NCIS spokesperson said agents were conducting a victim interview in connection with a domestic violence investigation. During the interview, a male suspect opened fire, fatally shooting the woman and injuring one of the NCIS agents.

“We can confirm that an NCIS Special Agent was shot and wounded by a male subject on September 22 at a residence in Humble, Texas,” the NCIS spokesperson said. “The Special Agent was transferred to a local hospital and is in stable condition.”

ABC 13 reported law enforcement officials have since identified the shooting suspect as Gregory L. Hightower, 37. Navy Times reported Hightower was a Navy career counselor who held the rank of a senior chief and had spent most of his 19-year Navy career in the recruiting field.

Hightower’s wife, Takara Hightower, 34, was killed.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jason Spencer told American Military News that the NCIS agents “were standing by while the homeowner’s wife prepared to leave the home with her two youngest children.”

“The homeowner (suspect) returned home, ran to the front door, kicked in the door, and shot his wife multiple times,” Spencer said.

“The two Special Agents ran to the residence and exchanged gunfire with the supsect,” Spencer added. “One NCIS agent was struck twice by gunfire.   It also appeared that the suspect was wounded.”

After being wounded in the initial shootout with NCIs agents, Hightower fled the scene in a black Honda Accord.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide team,  Harris County District Attorney’s Civil Rights Division, NCIS, FBI, ATF, and MCSO CSU responded to the scene. Takara Hightower was located inside her residence and was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds, while the wounded NCIs agent was taken to nearby Kingwood Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

Later on Thursday afternoon, Harris County Constable Precinct 4 deputies responded to a welfare check on Mist Lane, where the suspect’s mother lived. Spencer said that when Hightower spotted the deputies, they exchanged gunfire. Hightower was struck multiple times during this second shootout and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family and loved ones,” the NCIS spokesperson said. “We also pray for a speedy recovery for our wounded Special Agent.”

Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland told Navy Times that an infant and toddler at the Hightower home have been released to family members.