Sheriff: Ex-boyfriend walks into woman’s birthday party on Christmas Eve, fatally shoots her

Harris County investigators are searching for a 52-year-old man charged with murder after he allegedly showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s birthday party in northwest Harris County on Christmas Eve and shot her to death.

The slaying occurred around 8:40 p.m. in the 16500 block of Obsidian drive in the Stonegate subdivision, where investigators say Albert Benjamin Simon arrived uninvited at a small house party with about 15 guests. After forcing his way inside, Simon allegedly starting threatening his ex-girlfriend, Carolee Dawn Taylor, then grabbed her from the home at gunpoint.

He then allegedly shot her multiple times on the porch, where she was pronounced dead. Afterward, authorities say he fled in a dark-colored 2019 black Jeep Grand Cherokee with a license plate LVN0345.

Authorities quickly issued a warrant, and during a late-night press briefing at the scene Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called the slaying a “tragedy.”

“Another domestic violence death,” he said. “It just took her life.”

On Christmas morning, Gonzalez announced the filing of a murder charge against the still-wanted suspect.

“I went to this scene last night and couldn’t help but think that her final moments were spent happy celebrating her birthday with friends,” the sheriff tweeted. “She wore holiday festive attire. Simon brutally gunned her down. We must find him ASAP. Domestic violence is a serious epidemic.”

Although a weapon was recovered from the scene, authorities said Simon is believed to be armed. The Houston man has a brief criminal record in Harris County, including a misdemeanor stalking case from the mid-1990s – for which he successfully completed probation – and a 2018 drunken driving case that was dismissed last month after he completed a pretrial intervention program. State records do not show any arrests elsewhere or any history of violence.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit is investigating Taylor’s death. If anyone knows the location of Simon or the Grand Cherokee, they should not approach him or the vehicle, but should immediately call 911. If anyone has any additional information regarding the case, they are asked to contact the Homicide Unit at 713.274.9100 or call Crime Stoppers at 713.222.TIPS(8477)

The shooting comes weeks after a domestic violence incident that turned into a high-profile case and made national headlines when a Houston Police Department officer was killed while responding to the call. On the evening of Dec. 7, newly promoted Sgt. Christopher Brewster was allegedly shot to death by 25-year-old Arturo Solis, who was later charged with capital murder.

Afterward, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo sparked controversy by calling out a group of Republican senators for failing to approve the reauthorization of a measure that could close a legal loophole and thus further restrict firearms access to convicted domestic abusers.

“Who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend,” Acevedo said. “So you’re either here for women and children and our daughters and our sisters and our aunts or you’re here for the NRA.”

*story by Houston Chronicle