Art News

Michael Close in Custody for Isabella Thallas, Darian Simon Shooting

Be a Good Person team, from left: Darian Simon, Necos Jackson and Julian Donaldson.
Be a Good Person team, from left: Darian Simon, Necos Jackson and Julian Donaldson. Lindsey Bartlett
Michael Close is in custody for investigation of first-degree murder in connection with the June 10 murder of 21-year-old Isabella Thallas and the shooting of Darian Simon, the founder of the brand Be a Good Person, while the two were out for a walk with their dog near 30th Avenue and Fox Street.

Close was arrested on June 10, the day of the shootings, and has been in custody ever since; the final determination on charges will be made by the Denver District Attorney's Office. His booking photo was just released.

According to the police report, Simon was shot two times and transported to Denver Health. Thallas died at the scene.

click to enlarge Michael Close is being investigated for first-degree murder. - DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Michael Close is being investigated for first-degree murder.
Denver Police Department
"The victim related that he was walking with his girlfriend...and gave his dog the command to poop," according to the report. "A person yelled at him through a ground floor window, asking if the victim was going to train the dog or just yell at it."

Simon told police that he tried to ignore the man, but saw that he was pointing what Simon thought was a pellet gun at the couple. Then the man opened fire, and they ran. Simon was shot twice; his girlfriend was killed.

"In summary, the suspect got into a verbal altercation with the victims related to the victims telling the dog to poop," the report says. The suspect then left his apartment at 3001 Fox Street and fled the scene in a Black Mercedes Benz ML55.

Later that day, the Park County Sheriff's Office stopped Michael Close during a routine traffic stop near Pine Junction. Inside his car were a pistol-grip rifle and handgun, along with a gun belt and firearm magazines. He was transported back to Denver, where he remains in custody.

Simon, who is a photographer and has done work for Westword, is still in the hospital; he posted a message on Next Door over the weekend:

Hello, I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for sharing this information. Unfortunately I was the young male that got shot and lost his girlfriend. My name is Darian Simon and I live in the Jack Kerouac buildings. It was indeed over dog poop, but not over the poop itself... just the fact that I had to issue a verbal command instead of him doing it on his own. I hope we, as a community, can be more compassionate towards each other moving forward. I for none, had never seen or spoken to this man and it was white unsettling come to the realization that he tried to take my life and succeeded at taking my loves. I downloaded this app as a suggestion by a couple people to keep you all informed, not to scare you. I own a company down the black called “be a good person” in the RiNO art district and when I am fully recovered I’d love to see and meet some of you. Stay safe out there.
Be a Good Person offered these words on its Facebook page:
Denver. Thank you. We are overwhelmed in the face of tragedy. But we see you rallying in support, we hear you sending love, and we thank you. Our deepest condolences go out to the Thallas family.
The page points people to a GoFundMe campaign set up for Simon and another established for Thallas's family, both of which have raised over $60,000.

"We love our community, and in this time of devastation, we really feel how much our community loves us back," the Be a Good Person page notes.

Read the probable cause statement for Close's arrest.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris