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A crash, a call for help and a mental health crisis: How a Boulder man’s 911 call ended with a deputy killing him

Christian Glass called 911 for help after crashing his car into an embankment in Silver Plume — he needed someone to unstick his car.

Instead, a Clear Creek County deputy who responded shot and killed Glass in the early hours of June 11 as the 22-year-old experienced a mental health crisis. For an hour and nine minutes, seven officers with a variety of agencies tried to coax Glass out of the car.

Eventually, they decided to break the window and physically pull him out — despite not being suspected of a crime. In the chaos that ensued, Glass grabbed a knife and officers Tased and shot him with beanbags in an attempt to force him to drop it. Instead, Glass twisted in the driver’s seat and thrust it toward an officer standing next to the shattered window behind him, prompting the deputy to shoot him.

Attorneys for Glass’ family on Tuesday publicly released hours of body camera footage depicting the shooting and said officers never should have escalated the situation to the point where lethal force was considered.

“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 Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm said in a news release. “From beginning to end, the officers on scene acted unconscionably and inhumanely.”

Glass’ family called on the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the United States Attorney for the state of Colorado to prosecute the officers involved in the shooting. His parents are expected to speak about the shooting at a news conference Tuesday.

Glass lived in Boulder and was an artist, chef and avid tennis player with many hobbies. The night he was killed he was returning from a rock hunting trip. He wasn’t accused of any crime, his family’s attorneys said.

During the hour-long negotiations with Glass, the Colorado State Patrol trooper on scene talked to his supervisor. The audio was captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera.

“Can you ask Clear Creek what their plan is?” the supervisor asked. “If there’s no crime and he’s not suicidal, homicidal or a great danger, then there’s no reason to contact him.”

Twenty minutes later, Glass was dead.

“We’re not going to shoot you”

In his call to 911, Glass repeatedly told the call taker that his car was stuck and he was afraid. He told her he had two knives and a rubber mallet when she asked if he had any weapons, but said he would throw them out the window when deputies arrived, dispatch audio provided to The Denver Post by Glass’ family attorneys shows.

“I’m not dangerous, I will keep my hands completely visible,” he told the call taker.

Dispatch operators told the two Clear Creek County deputies sent to the scene — Andrew Buen and Tim Collins — that Glass had two knives and that he sounded paranoid. Glass told her “skinwalkers” were after him and that his car was stuck in a trap.

When they arrived, Glass held his hands out the driver’s side window but refused to step outside of the car when the deputies asked him to because he was afraid. Glass asked if they were going to shoot him.

“No, dude, we’re not going to shoot you but we need you to come here,” Collins said.

When Glass rolled up his window and refused to come out, Buen ordered him to take the keys out of the ignition. He complied but still refused to get out of the car, saying he needed to get pulled off the embankment.

Two minutes into the interaction, Buen started yelling at Glass telling him to step out or he’d be forcefully removed from the car. As Collins placed stop strips behind the car, Glass offered to throw the knives out of the window. Buen told him not to.

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