The parents of Colorado 22-year-old Christian Glass, who was fatally shot in his car by police last June after calling 911 for help, on Monday demanded not only justice for their son but an end to the pervasive gun violence that has left Americans – and visitors to the country – “scared.”
“It’s known throughout the world; we know people that don’t even want to visit us in America because they’re too scared,” said Sally Glass, originally from England, as she stood next to her husband, New Zealand native Simon. “Our daughter is at college … We just moved her to the third storey. She’s scared … people are scared.”
The Glasses were speaking after the Monday court appearance of former Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould, who are charged in the 11 June 2022 death of their son. Mr Buen, who allegedly shot and killed Christian, is charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct. Mr Gould, his former supervisor, was watching and giving instructions remotely on the tragic night; he is charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.
Lawyers for both defendants had argued against the charges but a judge ruled earlier this month that there was sufficient evidence to allow the case to continue. Fifth Judicial District Judge Catherine Cheroutes wrote that evidence supported probable cause that Mr Buen “intentionally and maliciously” caused harm to Christian by “shooting and killing him.”
“The malicious intent can be inferred from the aggressive demeanor and the ultimate action of the Defendant shooting Mr Glass as seen in the body cam footage,” she wrote.
The prosecution has filed a petition for the pair to be tried together, and on Monday the judge set a June court date, by which time both legal teams will have submitted responses to the motion and other matters will be addressed.
The Glasses have repeatedly pushed for charges brought against other officers, as well. After Christian called 911 last June, seven officers from multiple agencies were involved in the response. They spoke with Christian – who appeared to be suffering from some sort of nonviolent mental episode but repeatedly offered to throw anything that could be considered a weapon out of the car – for more than an hour. When he refused orders to exit his vehicle, Christian was hit with a stun gun, appeared to grab a tiny knife while thrashing around in the driver’s seat, and was then quickly shot dead.
Officers had been laughing and joking while cajoling Christian just minutes before he was killed.Ms Glass said on Monday that continued reports of new fatal police shootings in the months since their son’s death have left them trying “not to watch the news too much … because we find it so triggering”.
“Honestly, we’re doing a bit of self preservation at the moment,” she said. “It’s not because we don’t care deeply, it’s just that [there’s] just so much a human being can handle.”
Going further than addressing just police shootings, however, Mrs Glass insisted that America has “got to ban assault rifles” to curb gun deaths and further mass tragedies.
In January, Mr Glass lamented the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police following another court hearing for the ex-deputies charged with killing his son.
“I saw Tyre’s parents’ interview, part of the interview that they did, and really see the same thing we were going through – just disbelief,” he said. “I think he said something like, ‘I’m just trying to make it home’ or something like that.
“What are they doing? What are they doing?” he said of police departments and violent altercations.
Watching former deputies Buen and Gould in court, the Glasses said on Monday, was “incredibly hard … it’s awful and we have nightmares about it” – but they continue to attend all court hearings “for our son.”
“Our son lost his life,” Mrs Glass said, through tears. “The least we can do, as parents, is come up and support him, because I believe, somehow, he’s still around.”
Mr Buen and Mr Gould are scheduled to next appear in court on 21 June.
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