The loved ones of a 21-year-old woman shot and killed in Denver last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the alleged shooter and the former Denver police sergeant whose AK-47 was used in the killing.
Attorneys for Isabella Thallas’ father, Joshua Thallas, and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Denver District Court. Simon also was shot during the June 10 incident, but survived.
Simon’s attorney, Craig Silverman, said he and Thallas’ loved ones hope to use the lawsuit to learn more about how the shooting happened, the relationship between the suspect and the sergeant, and how the suspect acquired the AK-47 allegedly used in the killing.
“We should be celebrating Bella’s 22nd birthday and instead we’re filing a lawsuit about how and why she was killed,” Silverman said.
The lawsuit alleges Dan Politica, the former Denver police sergeant, failed to securely store the rifle in his home, which allowed suspected shooter Michael Close to take it.
But Silverman still wants to know why Close hasn’t been charged with stealing the gun and why the gun wasn’t reported as stolen until more than a week after Thallas’ death.
“We have been told scant information about the relationship between Politica and the murderer other than they were friends and confidants and grew up together in metro Denver,” Silverman said. “We want to know why the murderer was in possession of this weapon, which was outlawed in Denver. We also want to know how he obtained the ammunition and the large-capacity magazines that are outlawed in Colorado.”
Close opened fire on Thallas and Simon on June 10 while the couple took their dog for a walk, prosecutors have alleged. Close yelled at the couple about their dog immediately prior to the shooting.
Close has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 16 charges he faces in connection with the shooting in the Ballpark neighborhood.
Close and Politica had been friends for two decades, according to a transcript of Nov. 16 court testimony by Denver police Detective Joseph Trujillo, who is investigating the shooting. In interviews with investigators, Politica said he had been concerned about Close’s mental health.
Close texted Politica immediately prior to the shooting that his dog had been attacked by other dogs and that he was going to murder someone.
Minutes after the shooting, Close left a voicemail on Politica’s phone saying he had “done something really bad” and “there’s no going back from this now,” Trujillo testified.
Politica resigned from the department in March. Denver police previously said the gun was not issued by the department and that Politica notified the department that the gun was missing after learning it may have been used in the shooting.
Close remains in custody and Politica’s attorney, Reid Elkus, on Tuesday declined to speak to The Denver Post about the incident.
“There won’t be any justice for Darian or Bella’s family, so the best we can do is provide them the truth about what happened,” Silverman said. “That’s what victims crave when a terrible violent crime occurs — they want answers. They’re entitled to the truth.”
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