While a grand jury decides whether to charge the shooter, details about killing of Benjamin Becke in a Montrose apartment building loud music dispute have remained hazy at best.
Friends and acquaintances are starting to share information about the 30-year-old victim, a well-known figure in the Houston punk rock community who leaves behind a wife and three daughters. Those close to the family have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the Becke children.
Lauren Simon — a tenant in the Dunlavy fourplex where the shooting occurred and the hostess of a small birthday party for Becke on Saturday — says she wants to clarify some of the details surrounding her dear friend's final night.
"The neighbor pulled out a gun . . . He tried to shoot the gun at Joey and Ben stepped in front and took the bullet."
After attending a punk rock show at Mango's, Simon says she and her boyfriend along with seven other close friends ventured back to her apartment to socialize and listen to music.
"We heard this insanely loud banging on the door and turned the stereo down right away," she said, guessing at the time that the music was bothering her downstairs neighbor. No one opened the door or talked to the neighbor, but moments later the door banging returned — this time with a warning that the police would be called about the noise.
Hoping to avoid any trouble, Simon says that two guests left the party while another friend named Joey (a drummer for Austin punk band Lower Class Brats) walked downstairs to smooth things over with the neighbor. Becke followed closely behind, attempting to say goodbye to the pair leaving for the evening. Everyone more or less crossed paths on the porch near the front door of the neighbor's apartment.
"Ben came up to Joey, who was talking with the neighbor," Simon says, relaying the details witnessed by her boyfriend, who says he was standing on the stairs with view of the entire scene. "That's when the neighbor pulled out a gun . . . He tried to shoot the gun at Joey and Ben stepped in front and took the bullet."
Having had some minor first aid training, Simon helped Becke as much as she could until police and paramedics arrived. He later died at the scene.
Simon insists that — contrary to what several news outlets and the Houston Police Department itself have reported — there never appeared to be a verbal argument or any physical contact between either of the two men at the party (Ben and Joey) and the shooter. Of course, that is one side of the story.
As the case goes through the grand jury, CultureMap will keep you updated.
Funeral services for Becke were held at the Green Lawn Memorial Funeral Home in New Caney on Friday. A benefit concert for the family will be staged at the East End rock club White Swan Live (4419 Navigation) on Nov. 18.