Man charged with murder after killing woman over dog poop

Overzealous homeowner opened fire on a couple after their dog defecated outside his apartment building. Woman died at the scene but boyfriend expected to survive.

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Isabella Thallas and Michael Close
Isabella Thallas and Michael Close (R)
(Denver District Attorney)

There is such a thing as being too house proud.

A Denver man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding her boyfriend in an argument over dog poop outside his apartment has been charged with murder.

Michael R. Close, 36, is facing murder and several other charges in the June 10 shooting in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood, where he got into a verbal altercation with the couple — Isabella Thallas, 21, and Darian Simon, 26 — over a “command they used to have their dog defecate,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced.

“Both victims had disengaged from Close and were tending to their dog when it is alleged that Close began shooting,” McCann said.

An autopsy found that Thallas, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was killed by a gunshot wound and her death was ruled to be a homicide.

Simon, who was shot in the leg and buttocks, remains hospitalized but is expected to survive.

The shooting occurred after a man yelled at Simon for commanding the couple’s dog “to poop” as he and Thallas walked the pooch, according to a Denver police probable cause statement.

Police said Close then opened fire on the couple from his apartment, the Denver Post reported. The couple’s dog was not hurt.

Along with two counts of first-degree murder, McCann said Close is also facing charges including first-degree assault, possession of a prohibited large-capacity magazine and using a prohibited large-capacity magazine during the commission of crime.

Close, who has no criminal record in Colorado, was believed to be heading into a rural mountainous area when he was taken into custody, KUSA reported.

A memorial service in Denver was held Wednesday for Thallas. Days earlier, several hundred people gathered for a vigil and left flowers where she died, which relatives now hope to turn into a dog park, according to the station.

“My heart is broken,” Thallas’ father said the day his daughter was killed. “I’ve never gone to sleep crying and woke up crying in my life … I can’t replace what was taken today.”

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