'A sense of relief': Victim's friends react to suspect's death

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "A sense of relief," is how a close friend of Carolee Taylor described the reaction of family and friends to the capture and fatal shooting of suspect Al Simon, five days after killing his ex-girlfriend on Christmas Eve. It was her birthday.

According to information from detectives, Taylor's family was singing 'Happy Birthday' to her when Simon walked in with a rifle and pistol before pulling her outside the family's home, telling her, "You and I are going to talk."

Witnesses said he also threatened to kill her if he saw police.

Taylor was shot five times and was left on the front porch of the house.

Friday night, some of Taylor's many friends held a vigil at a park. Some were concerned for their own safety because Simon was still at large at the time.

"The fear is you've gone over the deep end. Who knows what you're capable of doing," Christine Izzo said. "And to do that to somebody you've supposedly loved. Just to know how well-connected he was and the financial stuff he was hiding. You just don't know what he's capable of."

Izzo and Taylor's family were making funeral arrangements Saturday afternoon when they learned Simon had been found.

"Carolee's daughter came in and said, 'Al's been caught and he was shot,'" Izzo said. "In that moment of silence, it felt like it lasted forever, and we couldn't believe what we were hearing. We said, 'are you sure?' And she said, 'Yes, I just got off the phone with the deputy.'"

Simon later died, which some of the victim's friends believe deprives the family of confronting the man who took the life of a person they deeply love.

Izzo sees his death as a way of preventing the emotional pain of enduring a trial.

Services for Carolee Taylor, who leaves behind a daughter, parents and extended family, as well as her many friends, are planned for Monday. After the service, there's a tailgate style reception.

"She did tailgating like no one else," Izzo said. "It's in her honor."

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