CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Two former Clear Creek County deputies charged in connection with the shooting death of Christian Glass in 2022 made their pleas in court on Thursday afternoon.
Former Clear Creek County deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould were both present in court. The parties said that they had reached a "tentative resolution" for Gould's case and wanted to set a plea and sentencing date, which Judge Catherine Cheroutes scheduled for Nov. 16.
Buen pleaded not guilty and a motions hearing to discuss a possible change of venue was set for Dec. 18 and 19. The parties will plan to set a trial date then.
Both deputies face multiple charges following a grand jury indictment from November 2022 in connection with the death of Glass earlier that year.
After the hearing, Glass' father Simon Glass said this was the first time the family had seen Gould take any responsibility for the death of their son.
"It's been 15, 16 months now," he said. "So it's good to see that. It's taken a long time."
Glass' mother, Sally Glass, said she could see the sorrow on Gould's face in court. She had a different outlook on Buen's decision to plead not guilty.
"The way he behaved that night was inhuman. Inhuman. Abject cruelty to our son," she said. "And then to put the icing on the cake, to plead not guilty — it's really hard."
The parents said they both believe Buen will be found guilty and will end up in prison.
"It's just an ongoing process of us just trying to steel ourselves to get through this and hope that justice will come soon," Simon Glass said. He continued: "Christian called 911 for help. He committed no crime. He called his murderers. His murderers came and they murdered him. This is the most appalling, appalling abuse, you could imagine. And we still, to this day, do not understand why this happened, how it could happen. This needs to be punished. People need to see this can never happen again."
Their attorney, Siddartha Rathod with Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, said there was no plea deal good enough to bring Christian Glass back to his parents, but it does start to help in the process of closure. The exact details of the plea deal were not available on Thursday.
The original narrative from the sheriff's office about what happened was called into question after the body-worn camera video of the shooting was obtained from prosecutors, according to attorneys with Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC and Glass' parents. An original press release from the sheriff's office made it seem like Christian Glass was the aggressor, and that he had tried to stab a responding officer.
Just before midnight on June 10, 2022, the 22-year-old called 911 after his car became stuck on an embankment along a dirt road in Silver Plume. He told the dispatcher he had two rock knives, a hammer and a mallet with him, which attorneys said was for his amateur geological work. At the time, he was on his way back from a trip to Moab.
Five agencies responded to the scene and for about an hour, they tried to persuade Glass to exit the car. Glass offered to throw the knives out of the car, but then-deputy Buen told him not to. After Glass said he was afraid and wanted to stay inside the car, Buen said that Glass would be removed with force. That call was authorized by then-deputy Gould.
Buen then broke the front passenger-side window, and shot six beanbag rounds at Glass. Buen and Georgetown police Marshal Randy Williams used Tasers on Glass, who screamed. According to a grand jury indictment released in November 2022, Glass swung his rock knife "in various directions in a state of complete panic and self defense.” When Williams tried to open the door and Glass swung the knife in his direction, Buen shot Glass five times. This happened just after midnight. Glass died at the scene.
According to the indictment, Glass did not pose a threat to himself, law enforcement or anybody else, and was acting in self-defense.
“... The decision to remove him from the vehicle directly (led) to the death of Mr. Glass,” the indictment reads. “The coroner’s report found that Mr. Glass’s death was a homicide as the result of being shot.”
The grand jury indicted Buen on counts of second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment. Gould was indicted on counts of criminal negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. Court records showed Buen posted a $50,000 bond in his case, and Gould posted a $2,500 bond in his case.
Glass' parents said he was having a mental health crisis that day. They said the 72-page internal affairs report on the incident, which was released in January 2023, vindicated their belief that the deputy who killed their son acted improperly and violated protocol.
In May 2023, they settled with Clear Creek County, the State of Colorado, the Town of Georgetown, and the City of Idaho Springs for a record-breaking $19 million. It was the largest lawsuit in state history.
After the settlement announcement, then-Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers — who has since retired after working for the sheriff's office since 1980 — issued a statement which read, in part:
"The Clear Creek County Sheriff extends his deepest apologies to the family of Christian Glass. The Sheriff acknowledges that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance.
The events that transpired the night of June 10-11, 2022, that ended in Christian’s death, continue to be disturbing. The initial press release did not give an accurate description of what occurred. Rather, as stated in the conclusion of the investigative report subsequently issued by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office after an independent review requested by Sheriff Albers, the deputy who killed Christian Glass used lethal force that 'was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer.'"
The following month, in June 2023, the Clear Creek County Commissioners and parents of Christian Glass released statements saying they believed the sheriff did not properly accept responsibility for the 22-year-old's death.
According to the settlement earlier this year, Clear Creek County must establish a dedicated crisis response team in the County by Jan. 1, 2025. The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office will also train and certify all its patrol officers in crisis intervention.