IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — Several dozen people gathered in a small park in Idaho Springs Tuesday to remember Christian Glass and demand charges for the Clear Creek County deputy who shot and killed him this summer.
Body camera video released by the family’s attorney last week showed 22-year-old Glass was in the midst of a mental health crisis when he called 911 because his car got stuck on a road in Silver Plume in June. Glass, who had rocks and hunting knives in his car, didn’t want to get out of the SUV. Deputies eventually broke one of the windows, shot Glass with bean bag rounds and shocked him with a Taser before shooting him five times.
“He was just a joy,” Glass’ mother Sally told the crowd at Tuesday’s vigil. “He was such a frigging happy kid. He was so full of life and we’re all just devastated it got extinguished so young.”
The crowd at Tuesday’s candlelight vigil was a mix of people who knew Glass and others who gathered to demand police reform in the mountain county.
Cynthia Flageolle, whose father Michael Clark, 75, was shocked with a Taser by an Idaho Springs police officer in 2021, said she hopes she never has to attend another gathering like this in her community.
“This is disgusting that we are here again,” Flageolle said. “Clear Creek County had the ability to prevent this and they didn’t. Changes could have been made well long ago.”
Clear Creek County is among the 40 of Colorado’s 64 counties without a mental health co-responder program for its police agency. State-funded co-responder programs exist in the other 24 counties, including neighboring Summit County, where 24/7 teams of plainclothes deputies and mental health clinicians respond to calls.
“We also need a mental health crisis response team put in place,” said Lisa Stamm, a Clear Creek County mother who helped organize Tuesday’s vigil.
“The failure of the responding officers in this case is horrific. And what’s worse is that these officers are still on duty today," she said.
Clear Creek Undersheriff Bruce Snelling told 9NEWS last week that deputy Andrew Buen, who shot and killed Glass, is back on patrol despite a still-pending review of his use of force by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney.
In a statement last week, Clear Creek County commissioners called the circumstances of Glass’ shooting “deeply troubling.”
“He’s the last person who deserves something like this,” Christian’s sister Katie told the crowd at the vigil. “This is awful and horrible and I would not wish this on my worst enemy. But the only thing that would make this better is justice.”
“The fact that the police officer is still working is disgusting," she said. "The fact this happened is disgusting and it's horrifying and scary. And I just want change so that this never happens to anyone again.”
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