DENVER (CBS4) – Life will never be the same for Ana Thallas after losing her daughter, Isabella Thallas, in a sudden and violent way. The 21-year-old was shot and killed in the middle of the day Wednesday while walking her dog with her boyfriend in the ballpark neighborhood.

Isabella Thallas

(credit: Thallas Family)

“She was a beautiful soul. A beautiful, pure heart,” said Ana Thallas, who described herself as overwhelmed and heartbroken over the weekend. “This child would walk into a room and light it up, just like that, just with her presence and her smile.”

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Isabella, who had just turned 21 on June 8, had years of love and adventure ahead of her. Her mom was excited to support her every step of the way, as she explored her three main passions — travel, fashion, and makeup.

“She was my little chic hippie,” Thallas said on Saturday night.

Isabella was a second year student at Metro State University of Denver, where she was a finance major. According to her mom, she was in a serious relationship with Darian Simon, who was also shot but is expected to recover.

“She really did want to be a mom and she wanted to have a family,” Thallas said. “She and Darian were planning a beautiful future together.”

On Wednesday, that beautiful future was cut short while the two walked their dog. Ana was driving to drop off Isabella’s birthday present when she got news there’d been a shooting.

According to arrest paperwork, Simon told police a man in a nearby apartment building confronted them about how they were training their dog. That man, who has since been identified as 36-year-old Michael Close, then opened fire using an AR-15.

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“I’m just waiting for this dream to end, and for me to wake up, and for Isabella to be in her bedroom and her bed,” Thallas said.

Isabella Thallas

(credit: Thallas Family)

Four days later, the shock and pain have not gone away.

“All I know is that a piece of me died that day with my daughter,” Thallas said.

Since Wednesday, friends, family, and even strangers have shared their love and support for the Thallas family by creating a makeshift memorial full of flowers and candles near the scene. On Thursday night, many people also attended a candlelight vigil.

“We thank you all so much because I don’t know what I would have done without you all,” said Thallas.

This Wednesday, the family is inviting everyone to Isabella’s memorial service at Church in the City on Gaylord Street at 10 a.m. They say it will be a celebration honoring her adventurous spirit and love of life.

“She loved a party, and she would want everyone to come to her party,” Thallas said.

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Ana Thallas tells CBS4 she was recently furloughed and could use financial help for both the funeral costs and any future memorials for Isabella. You can make a donation on her Gofundme page.

Conor McCue