DENVER (AP) – A grand jury has indicted two Colorado sheriff’s deputies in the death of a 22-year-old man who was shot after calling 911 for roadside assistance while experiencing what his mother described as a mental health crisis, according to online court records records.
Charges against former Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould were returned Wednesday, five months after Christian Glass was killed by law enforcement. The case has become a flashpoint amid a national outcry for police reforms with a focus on crisis intervention and de-escalation.
Charges against the two deputies include second-degree murder, official misconduct and criminally negligent homicide, according to court records, which did not provide further details.
The records did not list an attorney for either. A phone message left at a number believed to be Buen’s was not immediately returned. No telephone directory was found for Gould.
A federal judge issued warrants for both Buen and Gould, who face bonds of $50,000 and $2,500, respectively, according to a news release from Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum, who empaneled the grand jury.
Clear Creek County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nichole Lentz said in a statement that both officers have been terminated following the charges.
The sheriff’s office’s ongoing internal investigation found “policy and procedural errors,” Lentz said, adding that the office’s initial press release after the shooting “does not reflect the totality of what happened that terrible night.”
At the end of June 10, Glass called the police because his car was stuck on an embankment. Body camera videos show Glass refusing to get out of his car, telling police he is “terrified” and making heart shapes with his hands to officers.
Officers spoke to him to try to persuade him to leave the car. After more than an hour of negotiations, police said Glass was uncooperative and they broke the passenger window and removed a knife from the vehicle.
Glass offered to throw two knives out the window, but the video shows officers telling him not to.
When the window was broken, Glass appeared to panic and grabbed another knife. Police then shot Glass with beanbags and shocked him with a stun gun. The footage shows Glas twisting in his seat and thrusting a knife at an officer approaching the rear driver’s window. Then another officer fired his gun, hitting Glass six times, according to the autopsy report.
During a news conference in September, Glass’ mother, Sally Glass, said her son suffered from depression, had recently been diagnosed with ADHD and had “a mental health episode” and was “petrified” the night he was killed.
Jesse Bedayn is a staff member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues.