Relatives are pressing for charges to be filed against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Colorado man who called 911 for help when his SUV got stuck this summer.
Christian Glass, 22, of Boulder, was shot by a Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy early June 11 in Silver Plume, according to his family’s attorneys and the sheriff’s office.
He appeared to be holding a knife when he was shot five times after he refused to get out of his Honda Pilot for nearly 70 minutes, according to body camera video and an autopsy report provided by his family’s attorney.
His family’s attorneys said officers “escalated and proactively initiated force” that led to his death.
“The act of simply calling 911 for help cannot be a death sentence,” the Denver-based Rathod/Mohamedbhai law firm said in a statement Tuesday.
‘He trusted police to come and help him’
Glass’ parents, who are from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, made their first public comments this week since their son was killed.
“He was stuck on a small pile of rocks on the side of the road and called 911 for help,” Simon Glass told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “It was dark, and he was really worried. He trusted police to come and help him. Instead, they attacked and killed him.”
Sally Glass said her son “did nothing wrong,” adding, “He was just too scared to get out of his car.”
‘Argumentative and uncooperative’
Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday, and the undersheriff couldn’t be reached by phone.
Attorneys for the Glass family on Wednesday provided NBC News with an abridged version of body camera video from the shooting, unedited body camera video, an autopsy report and public statements from agencies involved in the incident.
According to a June 11 statement from the sheriff’s office, deputies were alerted about a call for a “motorist assist” at 11:21 p.m. June 10.
“Deputies arrived and found a single vehicle, which appeared to have been involved in an accident. The driver and sole occupant, an adult white male, immediately became argumentative and uncooperative with the deputies and had armed himself with a knife,” the statement said. “Additional law enforcement officers arrived and for over an hour tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution.”
Deputies broke out windows and removed a knife, the agency wrote.
“The suspect rearmed himself with a rock and a second knife,” the statement said. “Deputies deployed less-lethal bean bags, and Taser with negative results. The suspect eventually tried to stab an officer and was shot.”
Glass was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is investigating, the sheriff’s office said, and a deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome.
Clear Creek County District Attorney Heidi McCollum said her office is also reviewing the shooting.
“This office is required to issue a report or to present the case to a grand jury to further investigate or decide if indictments should issue,” McCollum said in a statement. “I will release my decision on the action this office will take as soon as the review process and a complete and thorough investigation is completed.”
An autopsy determined Glass died from gunshot wounds. It also showed that he had a .01% blood alcohol level and THC in his system, as well as amphetamine, which Rathod said was likely to be from a prescription to treat ADHD.
Rathod said that Glass was most likely having a mental crisis when he placed the 911 call.
‘I’m not dangerous’
Glass indicates in his nearly 25-minute call to 911 that he is afraid.
“My vehicle got stuck in a really bad way. … I need immediate assistance, please,” he says. “I will not be fine on my own.”
When the dispatcher asks about weapons, Glass says he has two knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet.
“I will throw them out the window as soon as officers get here,” he says. “I’m not dangerous. I will keep my hands completely visible. I understand this is a dodgy situation.”
Rathod said that Glass was an amateur geologist and that he used the knives, the hammer and the mallet for his hobby.
Video provided by the Glass family’s lawyers show an officer ordering Glass to get out of the car.
“Sir, I’m terrified,” Glass responds.
The officers tell him that he doesn’t need to be terrified and that they are there to help.
At another point in the video, an officer threatens to break the SUV’s window.
More officers arrive about 18 minutes into the standoff, the video shows.
After about 67 minutes, Glass makes what appears to be a heart gesture with his hands toward officers. A female voice is heard saying, “Same back at you, but come on out and talk to us.”
Glass appears to blow kisses toward the officers.
Shortly after, an officer announces that police will break into Glass’ SUV.
“It’s time to move the night on — OK. We got to move,” the officer says in the video.
The SUV’s front passenger-side window is broken, and officers are heard ordering Glass to drop the knife. He is shot with bean bags as officers yell for him to drop the knife.
Glass is then shot with a stun gun and begins shouting hysterically.
“You can save yourself. You can still save yourself,” an officer can be heard saying.
Glass appears to be yelling: “Lord hear me. Lord hear me.”
With the knife in his hand, Glass appears to turn toward an officer shortly before he is shot. He then appears to stab himself before he drops the knife.
Rathod said Glass’ knife injuries were superficial.