A Colorado man accused of gunning down a neighbor with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle while she was walking her dog over the summer had stolen the weapon from a police officer, authorities said.
Michael June Close, 36, allegedly fired more than 20 rounds with an AK-47 at 21-year-old Isabella Thallas and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, from his apartment window on June 10 while the couple were out walking their dog. Thallas died and Simon sustained a shattered femur.
The shooting was fueled after the couple’s pet, who was unharmed in the attack, defecated near Close’s home, according to authorities.
“In summary, the suspect got into a verbal altercation with the victims related to the victims telling the dog to poop,” a probable cause statement in the case alleged. “The suspect then shot the victims from inside his apartment.”
Authorities now say Close swiped the firearm from Denver police officer Sgt. Dan Politica, according to local station 9News. The rifle was the officer’s personal firearm, and wasn’t a police-issued gun. Close and Politica are friends and Close took the weapon without permission, a police spokesperson told the station.
“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,” a police spokesperson told the Denver Post.
Officials said that Politica didn’t appear to have violated department policy.
Thallas, had turned 21 two days before her death, The Denver Channel previously reported.
Close, who was later taken into custody during a traffic stop, faces at least 20 counts in the case, including for Thallas’ slaying. He's scheduled to be arraigned in court at 8:30 a.m. on March 8, according to the Denver Post.
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