A Denver police officer’s rifle was used in a fatal shooting this summer in which a man is charged with killing 21-year-old Isabella Thallas after a dispute about dog poop downtown.
Michael Close, 36, took the rifle from the home of a police officer he was friends with without the officer’s knowledge or permission, a Denver Police Department spokesman said Tuesday. The rifle was not issued to the officer by the department but was his personal gun.
“Upon learning his rifle was missing and that it may have been used in this homicide, the officer notified investigators that the rifle belonged to him,” the spokesman said in an email. The connection between the gun and the Denver police officer first was reported by 9News.
Investigators allege Close opened fire on Thallas and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, on June 10 after yelling at the couple because they asked the dog to poop near his apartment in the Ballpark neighborhood, according to Close’s arrest affidavit.
Thallas died at the scene and Simon was transported to the hospital with two bullet wounds.
The Park County Sheriff’s Office arrested Close about an hour later on U.S. 285 near Pine Junction. Police found a rifle, a handgun, a gun belt and multiple magazines of ammunition in the car Close was driving, his arrest affidavit states.
Close faces 20 criminal charges in connection to the killing of Thallas and the wounding of Simon. Charges include first-degree murder, attempted murder, use of a prohibited large-capacity magazine during a crime and assault.
Close is scheduled to be arraigned in the case on March 8.