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During candlelight vigil, family and friends mourn Denver 21-year-old shot, killed while walking dog

Michael Close.jpg
Posted at 6:28 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 13:30:02-04

DENVER — Family and friends lit candles and held each other tight Thursday evening as they remembered a young Denver woman shot and killed while walking with her boyfriend and his dog on Wednesday.

More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil to remember Isabella Thallas. Ana Thallas, her mother, said that her daughter, known as Bella, turned 21 years old on June 8, just two days before she was murdered.

"She was young, vibrant, kind, loving, beautiful — on the outside and the inside," Thallas said. "She had the world in front of her."

Isabella was the oldest of three of Thallas' children. Thallas remembers carefully picking out her daughter's name.

"Isabella — not just a queen, but it means dedicated to God and so I truly believe she was and she is with him now," Thallas said.

Isabella and her boyfriend Darian Simon were shot while walking their dog on Wednesday, just outside an apartment complex off Fox Street. Isabella died at the scene. Simon was shot twice and taken to the hospital.

Simon tuned into the vigil through FaceTime from his hospital bed.

"He is just happy all these people are here and he's just happy all these people are honoring her life, more importantly," said Simon's stepbrother Drick Bernstine.

Simon's mother, Christy Simon, said Darrian told her he wanted to live for Isabella.

Isabella was studying finance and dreamed of someday becoming a mother. She was a Cherry Creek High School graduate.

"My heart is broken, and she is not here and that man took her life," Thallas said.

Isabella's father said he wants to build a dog park where his daughter was shot and killed. According to a probable cause statement, the suspected shooter, Micheal Close, yelled at the couple after Simon ordered his dog to poop. Close then shot at the couple before fleeing the area. He was detained near U.S 285 and Mt. Evans Boulevard in Park County.

Close is facing first-degree murder and attempted murder charges. He is being held without bond until his next court appearance.