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Suspect in downtown Denver shooting yelled at victims about dog defecating prior to shooting, documents say

Suspect Michael Close held without bond after first appearance
Michael Close.jpg
June 10, 2020 shooting on N. Huron
Posted at 11:36 AM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 13:30:13-04

DENVER – The 36-year-old suspect in a shooting in downtown Denver Wednesday shot two people after yelling at them about their dog defecating on the ground near the apartment complex where they were shot, according to a probable cause statement for his arrest.

Michael Close, 36, made his first court appearance Thursday morning in Denver, was advised of his rights, and was told he would be held without bond pending his next court appearance. He is being held for investigation on a first-degree murder charge.

According to a probable cause statement for his arrest, the male victim, identified as 26-year-old Darian Simon, and his girlfriend, 21-year-old Isabella Thallas, were walking their dog at 3001 N. Fox Street when the Simon told the dog to poop.

Family members identified Thallas as the woman who was killed in the shooting and that Simon was also injured. The judge in Close’s case also identified Simon as the man who was injured in the shooting when she issued a restraining order for Close not to contact or come near Simon or his family.

According to the probable cause statement, Simon heard a person yell at him through a ground-floor window of an apartment “asking if the victim was going to train the dog or just yell at it.”

Simon told officers who interviewed him at Denver Health, where he was hospitalized after the shooting, that he tried to ignore the suspect, but then saw what he thought was a pellet gun pointed at him from the window.

“The victim then heard multiple gun shots and ran away until he could not run further due to the injury to his leg and buttocks,” the probable cause statement says.

The weapon was actually an AR-15, according to the police document. Thallas died at the scene.

According to the probable cause statement, Simon’s mother told officers she was called by another man who was at the scene with her son after he was shot, who told his mother her son had been hurt.

The man told the Simon’s mother that her son had said he was walking his dog with his girlfriend when they were shot.

Close was stopped just after 1 p.m. by a Park County Sheriff’s Office deputy after a BOLO alert was sent out for his vehicle, a black Mercedes Benz ML55. He was detained near U.S 285 and Mt Evans Blvd. and taken to Denver police headquarters to be interviewed.

Detectives said they found a pistol grip rifle, handgun, gun belt and magazines inside the vehicle, which was towed to Denver’s crime lab vehicle processing bay. Some other portions of the probable cause statement are redacted.

Officials have not formally released the names of the two victims as of Thursday afternoon.

Thallas’ family and pastor also appeared virtually to watch Close’s first advisement Thursday morning.

A GoFundMe page organized by friends of the Thallas family, which was confirmed by Thallas’ mother, Ana Thallas, to be authentic, also identified Isabella and Darian as the shooting victims. The page says Isabella had just turned 21 earlier this week.

“There is no doubt in our minds that Isabella is watching over us today, tomorrow, and forever,” the page says.

The page had already raised nearly $20,000 of the $10,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon, proceeds that the page says will go fully toward the Thallas family.

“It’s a senseless act of violence and this needs to stop,” Ana Thallas told Denver7 Thursday.

A GoFundMe account for Simon, who is the co-owner and co-founder of the “Be a Good Person” brand, that was set up on Thursday had raised more than $13,000 of the $10,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon. The page said that Simon’s femur is “completely shattered” and that he will have to undergo surgeries due to the damage.

Denver7's Jason Gruenauer contributed to this report.