Prosecutors in Colorado are reviewing the June fatal police shooting of a 22-year-old man who was armed with a knife and had called 911 for roadside assistance, according to officials and family attorneys.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office received a “motorist assist” call on June 10 at 11:21 p.m., the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Responding deputies found a car that appeared to have been in an accident along with its driver.
“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 news release from the sheriff’s office said.
“Additional law enforcement officers arrived and for over an hour tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution. Deputies were able to break out the car windows and remove one knife. The suspect rearmed himself with a rock and a second knife.”
Christian Glass, from Boulder, Colorado, had an accident on the side of the road, called 911 for help and was “fully contained in his vehicle and presenting no threat,” according to his family.
In a news conference Tuesday, Glass’ parents said their son didn’t carry weapons, and the knives were rock tools used for carving rocks as a form of art.
In 911 call audio released by the family, Glass tells the dispatcher “I have a weapon on me. I will throw them out the window as soon as an officer gets here” and continues to describe having two knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet.
Body camera video of the incident released by the family shows Glass offering to throw the weapons out of the car and a responding officer telling him not to do so.
“He actually offered to throw his rock knives and his tools out of the window so they wouldn’t be worried. But they told him no and he obeyed,” Glass’ mother, Sally Glass, said.
CNN has reached out to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office for additional information pertaining to the duty status of the officers and deputies involved. CNN has also requested an unedited copy of the body camera footage from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.
How the incident unfolded
In the video, responding deputies can be heard asking Glass to exit the vehicle several times.
One responding officer asks Glass if he had taken any drugs, to which Glass responds “I smoked, I’ve been …” before becoming distracted by an officer placing what attorneys for the family said were tack strips behind his car, the video shows.
The autopsy report released by attorneys for the Glass family stated that Glass had both THC and amphetamine in his system.
Deputies were able to break out the car’s windows and remove one of the knives, but Glass re-armed himself with a rock and a second knife, according to the sheriff’s office. In the video, deputies can be heard repeatedly asking Glass to drop the knife.
Deputies deployed bean bags and a taser “with negative results” before Glass “eventually tried to stab an officer,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Body camera video shows law enforcement then shot Glass with a stun gun before he can be seen twisting and then seemingly thrusting a knife toward an officer before police fired multiple gun shots. The video then shows Glass apparently stabbing himself.
The body camera video released by the attorneys for the family has been edited to blur Glass’ body.
“The only thing we have edited from the videos is after Christian is removed from the car. We blur the screen where his body is on the ground and medical treatment is being provided to his body. We felt it wasn’t appropriate to have Christian’s naked body out there in the world,” attorney Siddhartha Rathod said.
Family says Glass suffered a mental health episode
Glass – who was shot in the early morning of June 11, more than an hour after police first arrived – was pronounced dead on scene, the news release from the sheriff’s office said. The autopsy report showed Glass’ injuries were fatal and included five gunshot wounds to the torso and one to his right arm.
Meanwhile, Glass’ family and attorneys said he was having a mental health episode.
“There was no need to threaten him with force; to draw guns; to break his car window; to fire beanbag rounds from a close distance; to tase him; to shoot him dead. From beginning to end, the officers on scene acted unconscionably and inhumanely,” Glass’ parents and attorneys said in a news release.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation of the incident, and the deputy who fired his weapon and killed Glass was placed on administrative leave, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy has since returned to duty, according to local media.
“This incident remains under investigation. Following an initial presentation of the case made to the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, CBI Investigative Agents continue to provide additional follow-up to enable the DA’s Office to conduct a full assessment of the facts related to the incident,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told CNN in a statement.
In their release on Tuesday, the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said it has been in contact with the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI Denver Division regarding the case.
“We are working diligently to thoroughly review the evidence in this case,” 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum said. “When a peace officer shoots and wounds or kills a person in Colorado, there are specific protocols to investigate and review such matters.”
The office is mandated to release a report or to present the case to a grand jury “to further investigate or decide if indictments should issue,” McCollum said.
“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,” McCollum said. “While we understand that public sentiment may desire this process to move at a more rapid pace, it is not in the interests of justice and fairness to the family of the victim for this matter to be rushed to a conclusion.”