July 19, 2024

A former sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a 22-year-old man who had called 911 for help in June 2022 was found guilty on Friday of reckless endangerment, though a Colorado jury said it was unable to reach a verdict on charges of murder and official misconduct.

The judge in the case, which drew scrutiny over how the police handle crisis intervention, scheduled a hearing for Monday afternoon to discuss sentencing on the reckless endangerment charge and the jury’s inability to reach a verdict on the other two counts after three days of deliberations.

The former deputy, Andrew Buen, was charged in November 2022 with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment in the fatal shooting of Christian Glass, who called the police for help after his S.U.V. got stuck on an embankment on a mountain road near Silver Plume, Colo., about 45 miles west of Denver.

Prosecutors and a lawyer for Mr. Buen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

“This is small step toward justice,” Siddhartha Rathod, a lawyer for the Glass family, said in brief interview on Friday.

After Mr. Glass called 911 for help on June 10, 2022, about a half-dozen officers, including Mr. Buen, arrived and spent more than an hour trying to persuade him to get out of his S.U.V.

Mr. Glass had a knife in his hand, and body camera footage showed that the officers asked him to drop it. When he did not follow their orders, Mr. Buen broke the front passenger-side window with a baton, according to the indictment. Officers then used a stun gun on Mr. Glass and fired beanbag rounds at him, charging documents state.

At some point in the night, Mr. Glass swung the knife in several directions “in a state of complete panic and self-defense,” the indictment said. That’s when Mr. Buen fired at him five times with his service pistol. Mr. Glass was later pronounced dead at the scene, according to the indictment.

Mr. Glass’s mother, Sally Glass, has said that her son was having a “mental health episode” the night he was killed.

Before the jury began deliberations on Wednesday, Heidi McCollum, the Clear Creek County district attorney, said in court that the officers were concerned that Mr. Glass would get out of his S.U.V. and use the knife, but they also wanted him to get out of the vehicle.

“How could Christian win that night?” Ms. McCollum said. “Maybe the better question is: How could Christian live that night?”

Carrie Slinkard, a lawyer for Mr. Buen, said in court that Mr. Glass presented a threat to the officers with a knife in his hand.

“Nobody wanted Christian to die that night,” Ms. Slinkard said. “Action was taken in response to behaviors that put another man’s life in danger.”

Mr. Buen was initially placed on administrative leave after the shooting, and returned to work for the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office in September 2022. He was fired in November 2022 after the indictment against him was made public.

Another sheriff’s deputy with the sheriff’s office, Kyle Gould, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in November 2022 in connection with the shooting.

Mr. Gould did not respond to Mr. Glass’s call for help that night, but it had been determined that Mr. Gould played a role in the shooting because he was a supervisor of one of the deputies who responded to the 911 call, his lawyer said in 2023.

As part of a plea agreement, Mr. Gould pleaded guilty in November 2023 to failure to intervene, and he was sentenced to two years of probation. Mr. Gould is barred from working in law enforcement as part of the plea agreement, according to the district attorney’s office for the Fifth Judicial District.

Six other officers who responded to the 911 call were charged in November 2023 with one count each of failure to intervene, a misdemeanor, according to the district attorney’s office. The officers who were charged were Randy Williams, the Georgetown town marshal; Officer Timothy Collins of the Georgetown Police Department; Officer Brittany Morrow of the Idaho Springs Police Department; Trooper Ryan Bennie of the Colorado State Patrol; and Officers Christa Lloyd and Mary J. Harris of the Colorado Division of Gaming. Marshal Williams was also charged with third-degree assault.

The cases against those six officers remain open.

The parents of Mr. Glass received a $19 million settlement, which was announced in May 2023. Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Glass’s parents were to receive the amount from state and local agencies, and changes were to be made to how officers train for similar situations, according to the family’s lawyers.

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