DENVER — An internal affairs investigation into the officer-involved shooting in Clear Creek County that killed 22-year-old Christian Glass last summer determined that the firing deputy did not act properly during the incident and failed to de-escalate the situation.
The investigation was conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at the request of Clear Creek Sheriff Rick Albers.
“By a preponderance of the evidence, Deputy (Andrew) Buen was not within (Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office) policy and procedure when he used deadly physical force,” the report read.
Buen, who shot and killed Glass after Glass had asked for roadside assistance June 11 near Silver Plume, was indicted in November by a grand jury for second-degree homicide, official misconduct and reckless endangerment. Buen was fired by the department after the indictment.
A second now-former deputy, Kyle Gould, was also indicted.
Attorneys for Glass’ family stated that he was going through a mental health episode when police arrived. Glass notified dispatchers when he called for assistance that he had two knives, a hammer and a mallet in his car. Attorneys said this was related to his work as an amateur geologist. Glass was on his way back from a trip to Moab, Utah when he called for help.
Glass had offered to throw the knives out of his car when officers arrived but was told not to by Buen. He tossed the knife into the front passenger seat, according to the internal affairs report, which stated it was “never posing an imminent danger to Deputy Buen.”
Douglas County’s investigation into the shooting took more than six weeks and wrapped up Dec. 29, which included interviewing several of the other officers who were on scene. Buen was not interviewed, according to the 72-page report, as he had already been fired.
Despite Glass showing signs of a mental health crisis, the report states that Buen did not have probable cause to place a mental health hold on Glass.
And as Glass had called dispatch for help as a stranded motorist due to allegedly being run off the road, the report also states that a possible victim statement was never fully investigated by Buen.
“Deputy Buen failed to recognize his verbal and non-verbal tactics were failing to de-escalate Mr. Glass and gain Mr. Glass’ cooperation,” the report stated. “Rather, Deputy Buen’s actions escalated Mr. Glass to the point that Mr. Glass stopped all verbal communication before other officers could attempt to negotiate with him.”
According to Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office policy on de-escalation tactics, officers should maintain a safe gap from the suspect. Buen stayed within close distance to Glass during the incident, particularly when Glass was holding the knife. Buen did not follow these strategies, the report said.
Buen also fired on Glass, despite other officers having a better vantage point of Glass, the report said, noting that other officers on scene did not fire their weapons, including Deputy Tim Collins, who had SWAT training.
“Mr. Glass was not in a physical position to kill anyone,” the report stated. “A knife is a dangerous weapon, however for Mr. Glass to kill or seriously injure an officer on scene, he would have had to exit the vehicle or turned his body so significantly in the driver’s seat that he would have been able to reach the knife more than one to two feet outside the vehicle, in order to inflict injury to (Georgetown Police) Chief (Randolph) Williams.”