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Survivor of deadly Denver Ballpark neighborhood attack endures in the midst of grief and growth

Darian Simon said he's finally ready to talk about the day in 2020 when his girlfriend was killed and he was injured in a shooting.

Chris Vanderveen

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Published: 5:57 PM MDT July 6, 2022
Updated: 9:32 PM MDT July 6, 2022

Two years after a gunman killed his girlfriend and left him with a catastrophic wound to his leg, Darian Simon feels like he’s finally ready to talk publicly about the day that shut down a large part of Denver.

As we readied for our interview, Simon glanced at the window maybe 10 or so feet away.

“That’s where he shot from,” he said as he took a seat on the pavement.

I asked him if he wanted to move.

“I’m good,” he replied. “Being over here isn’t easy for me, but I will feel accomplished later.”

Two years after a gunman -- a stranger armed with an AK-47 -- fired two dozen rounds at him and his girlfriend Bella Thallas from that first-story window, Simon said he’s still working to reclaim the area from the tragedy that unfolded.

Credit: KUSA
Darian Simon

The gunman no longer controls what happened here. Simon, his friends, his neighbors, and Bella’s family do.

“I think whenever you lose control of a situation you want to take control back,” he said.

It’s a part of the healing process Simon is still trying to understand. Bella died that day. A bullet pierced and ultimately obliterated the femur in his right leg.

Credit: KUSA
A memorial space honoring Isabella Thallas.

“I could have moved away. I could never go to this side of the fence. I could never have to be this close to the window and no one would have blamed me,” he said.

This is a choice. His choice.

It’s how he plans on living the rest of his life. On his terms.

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