Former Clear Creek deputy who shot and killed Christian Glass pleads not guilty

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A vigil for Christian Glass on Wednesday evening, Sept. 20, 2022, in Idaho Springs. He called 911 for help from his stranded vehicle in Silver Plume in June 2022. Clear Creek County deputies responded to his call, and in a moment captured by officers’ body cameras, one deputy shot and killed the 22-year old man

The former Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a Boulder man who called 911 for help when his car was stuck on some rocks pleaded not guilty on Thursday to murder and official misconduct charges.

Christian Glass died in his own car after Andrew Buen fatally shot him in June 2022. Glass, 22, had called for help. When Buen and another officer first arrived, he told them he was scared to get out of his car and locked the doors.

After more than 70 minutes of back and forth and rising tension from the officers, Buen and other officers broke the Glass’ car windows. Buen then fatally shot him.

What happened after Christian Glass' killing

Buen was fired from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office after his actions came to light through body-worn camera footage that showed Buen escalating the scene when Glass was showing no signs of being a danger to officers or the public.

The Clear Creek County district attorney charged Buen with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment after sending the case to a county grand jury.

His supervisor, Sgt. Kyle Gould, who was also fired from Clear Creek County, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. 

Prosecutors indicated they had reached a plea deal for Gould and that will be settled in the next few weeks, though he didn’t enter a plea on Thursday.

Gould wasn’t on the scene that night, but instructed Buen to break Glass’s car windows and watched the scene unfold from Buen’s body camera.

Glass was an amateur artist and geologist and had just returned from a trip to Utah. His parents don’t know what he was doing alone on a dark road near Idaho Springs last June. When his car got stuck on some rocks, he called 911 for help.

When Buen and another officer arrived, though, Glass said he was fearful and wanted to stay in the car. He said he would be happy to follow them back to the sheriff’s office if they would just tow him out. He wasn’t suspected of any crimes at the time. They placed stop sticks on his car and climbed on top of it with weapons, threatening him, while screaming at him to get out of the vehicle. Ultimately, Buen ended up killing him.

What happens next

Buen could face a future trial or take a plea bargain deal that would likely promise prison time. His lawyers indicated on Thursday they may request a change of venue in the case, which means they would request any future trial would be held outside of Clear Creek County. 

Buen has another court appearance in December.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers has also retired since the incident. County commissioners are searching for a new sheriff.

Glass’s parents received a $19 million settlement from Clear Creek County — the largest known police settlement in Colorado’s history.