The parents of a 22-year-old man killed by Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputies said on Tuesday that the fact the deputy who killed their son is back on the streets without any consequence is a stain on Colorado and a threat to everyone in the state.
Speaking at their lawyer’s office, Simon and Sally Glass tearfully told the life story of their only son, Christian, who was killed in the early morning hours of June 11, 2022, by a Clear Creek County deputy responding to a call for help after Glass’s car was stuck near Silver Plume.
“He was stuck on a small pile of rocks on the side of the road and called 9-1-1 for help. It was dark and he was really worried. He trusted the police would come and help him,” said Simon Glass, Christian’s father. “Instead they attacked and killed him. The killer struck Christian five times to make sure.”
In a tense 78 minutes, responding officers escalated the situation because Glass refused to get out of his vehicle. They broke the windows, tased him and shot him with bean bags. Glass had some rock tools inside the car, including two knives, which he offered to throw out of the vehicle, but the officers told him not to.
In the end, Glass picked up the knife but never left the car. He was shot and killed by one officer while he remained in the front seat.
Glass was an artist and a chef. He lived in the Boulder area with a roommate and was taking computer coding classes. He had no criminal record and his parents said that he had never in his life hurt anyone.
The night he called police for help, and they responded, he had committed no crime and wasn’t suspected of committing any crimes.
Clear Creek County Deputy Andrew Buen was the one who fired the shots, according to the family, who said the name came from prosecutors. Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers has not commented on the incident.
Lawyers for the Glass family, Qusair Mohamedbhai and Siddhartha Rathod, said that Buen was back on the street working within a couple of weeks of the incident.
“The Clear Creek County sheriff is clearly not taking this seriously,” Simon Glass said. “What are other Colorado parents supposed to think? Might their son or daughter be next?”
Glass’ autopsy report released on Tuesday shows he was struck six times by bullets and had superficial knife wounds, where he stabbed himself after he was shot. He had trace amounts of alcohol in his blood and some THC. His parents said he was on an ADHD medication, Ritalin, which shows up as an amphetamine.
Sally Glass said her son gave the biggest, most enveloping hugs. She said the night he called 911, he had done nothing wrong, he was just too scared to get out of the car.
“Christian didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body,” Sally Glass said. “We are a very gentle, quiet family. So that level of aggression in those officers really wasn’t in his world. He wasn’t used to it.”
Clear Creek County District Attorney Heidi McCollum released a statement Tuesday saying she was still investigating the incident with the help of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. She said she hasn’t made a decision on whether to charge any officers or send the case to a grand jury to make a decision.
“While we understand that public sentiment may desire this process to move at a more rapid pace, it is not in the interests of justice and fairness to the family of the victim for this matter to be rushed to a conclusion,” McCollum said, in a statement.
McCollum said she’s also working with federal officials, who may conduct their own investigation into it.
“I will continue to offer open lines of communication with these agencies,” she said.
Deborah Takahara, a spokeswoman for the state’s U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan, confirmed federal agencies are aware of the shooting.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the FBI Denver Division are aware of the shooting in Silver Plume,” the statement said. “If the information reveals potential violations of federal criminal statutes, the Justice Department will take the appropriate action.”
The Glass family will likely eventually sue law enforcement officials for the incident.
Sally Glass is from the United Kingdom and her husband, Simon, is from New Zealand. She told reporters at a press conference she was confused after the incident whether her son did anything wrong. She has decided against watching the body camera footage of the incident because she doesn’t want that to be her last memory of her son.
“I thought you don’t just shoot someone five times if they never do anything wrong,” she said. “Pray for our son. Pray for a structural change of policing in this country. They should be protecting us, not attacking us. The police need to know that they hurt people.”
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