Fatal Shooting of Man with Mental Disabilities Who Called 911

There has been a fatal shooting of a young man with mental health problems who called 911 in Colorado.

This prompts reminders of when the Amarillo Police Department attempted to murder Hunter Tyler Schreck (many stories on this website about that tragedy).


Fatal Shooting of Man with Mental Disabilities Who Called 911

Authorities in Colorado said this week that they were investigating a fatal shooting in June by a sheriff’s deputy of a disturbed 22-year-old Boulder man who had called 911 when his SUV became stuck on a mountain road at night.

In a statement Tuesday, Heidi McCollum, the Clear Creek County district attorney, said that her office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were reviewing the events surrounding the death of the man, Christian Glass, to decide whether to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

“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,” she said.

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The announcement came as lawyers for Glass’ family released audio of the 911 call, radio transmissions and responding officers’ bodycam videos of a standoff lasting more than an hour during which Glass refused to leave the car, at one point holding a knife. Officers can be heard describing a possible “psych issue.”

An autopsy report said Glass had six gunshot wounds and noted THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system, along with amphetamine that, according to a doctor quoted by The Denver Post, was commensurate with medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. After the confrontation, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said that Glass had tried to stab one of the law enforcement officers who had “tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution.”

According to the family’s lawyers, Glass was surrounded by seven officers from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Springs Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Division of Gaming, and their tactics grew increasingly aggressive.

“There was no need to threaten him with force; to draw guns; to break his car window; to fire beanbag rounds from a close distance; to Tase him; to shoot him dead,” the lawyers, Siddhartha Rathod and Qusair Mohamedbhai, said in a statement.

In June, the sheriff’s office said that a deputy had been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation in the shooting. On Tuesday, Glass’ parents identified the officer as Andrew Buen. On Thursday, Undersheriff Bruce Snelling said in a telephone interview that Buen was “back to work.”

The officer has been on the force for about five or six years, most recently in the patrol division, and has no record of disciplinary issues, the undersheriff said.

On the night of June 10, Glass’ Honda Pilot became stuck on an embankment on a road near Silver Plume, Colorado, a former silver mining camp in the Rocky Mountains, about 45 miles west of Denver. Glass told a dispatcher that his vehicle was stuck in a “trap,” that he was coming out of a depression, that he feared “skinwalkers” and that he needed help.

Asked if he had weapons, Glass told the dispatcher that he had knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet. Glass told the dispatcher that he would keep his hands visible when officers arrived.

“I understand that this is a dodgy situation for you guys as well,” he said. He said he loved her for being on the line with him while he was frightened. “If I got out of the car, I might be in danger,” he said.

As officers were being deployed, the dispatcher conveyed the tone of the interaction to the multiple law enforcement agencies over the radio, describing Glass as “very paranoid” and “not making much sense.”

Roughly half a dozen officers arrived at the vehicle before midnight, video shows, nearly surrounding it while Glass remained inside. At one point, he turned to the closed window, cupping his hands in a heart-shaped gesture at the officers. He sometimes kept his hands on the steering wheel but did not open the door or window, unlock the vehicle or get out, as they had requested.

At one point, an officer tried to coax him out with a meal. At another point, an officer said it was “time to move the night on.”

The officers could be heard describing Glass as putting a knife aside but then picking up another. They repeatedly ordered him to “drop the knife.” Video shows that they broke the car’s windows, fired beanbag rounds at Glass and fired a stun gun at him.

Glass then swung an arm at the broken driver’s side window, near where an officer was standing, and gunshots were fired, the videos show.

Glass’ father, Simon Glass, said at a news conference Tuesday that his son was gentle and polite and that they hoped there would be justice. The family’s lawyers said that Christian Glass was an amateur geologist.

“We have been more than patient,” Simon Glass said. “It was a murder by a Colorado official.”

Sally Glass, his mother, said that her son loved to take long drives in the mountains, was an artist and that he was “having a mental health episode.”

“He was just too scared to get out of his car,” she said.

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Bill Windsor

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