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Former Colo. sheriff’s deputy convicted of misdemeanor in fatal 2022 shooting

Andrew Buen was charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment for killing Christian Glass


By Shelly Bradbury
The Denver Post

DENVER — Jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on the murder charge against the former Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed Christian Glass nearly two years ago, but on Friday convicted the deputy of reckless endangerment.

Andrew Buen, 30, was charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment for killing Glass on June 10, 2022, after the 22-year-old called 911 for help when his car got stuck on a rock.

Glass, who had marijuana and amphetamine in his system, told dispatchers he was afraid of “skinwalkers” and people chasing him.

Jurors on Friday deadlocked on the murder and official misconduct counts, but convicted Buen of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor typically punished by no more than 120 days in jail. Buen would have faced years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

The jurors deliberated for about two-and-a-half days before informing District Judge Catherine Cheroutes around 4:30 p.m. Friday that they could not reach a verdict on the two most serious charges in the case.

Because the jury did not reach verdicts, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum could continue to pursue the murder and official misconduct charges against Buen. She said Friday she has not yet decided whether she will do so, but expects to make that decision in the next couple weeks. Buen will return to court Monday to schedule future court proceedings.

“Obviously it’s not the verdict I was hoping for, but that being said, I understand that the jurors certainly did their civic duty and put in a tremendous amount of time and effort, and I appreciate their diligence,” McCollum said. “…And at the end of the day, not all 12 people could come to a unanimous decision. I can’t fault them, any one individual, two or three individuals, for that.”

Siddhartha Rathod, attorney for the Glass family, said Friday that the family wants to see the murder prosecution continue.

“The jury found Deputy Buen’s conduct to be criminal,” Rathod said. “The jury found Deputy Buen guilty of reckless endangerment. And it is one step closer to getting justice for Christian. Deputy Buen will re-face a jury of his peers.”

On the night of the incident, seven law enforcement officers responded to Glass’ 911 call and spent more than an hour trying to coax Glass out of the car while he was experiencing delusions and paranoia. Eventually, Buen decided to break Glass’ window and pull him from the car.

Prosecutors argued during the eight-day jury trial that officers had no legal reason to force Glass, who they said was experiencing a mental health crisis, out of the car. Buen’s defense attorneys said police needed him out of the vehicle in order to investigate him for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When officers broke the window, Glass grabbed a knife and officers fired a Taser at him and shot him with beanbags in an attempt to force him to drop it. Instead, Glass twisted in the driver’s seat and thrust the knife toward an officer standing next to the shattered window behind him, prompting Buen to shoot Glass five times. Glass then stabbed himself several times.

McCollum said during closing statements that Buen’s actions that night escalated the situation and were objectively unreasonable.

“What would have been wrong with waiting two hours, or three hours?” she said Wednesday. “…You can let him sit in there for hours, and if that calms him down, if that doesn’t lead to anyone’s death, don’t you think a few hours is worth it?”

Buen’s attorney, Carrie Slinkard, accused prosecutors of slanting evidence in the case to create the appearance of a crime when none was actually committed, and argued that Buen had to shoot Glass to protect then-Georgetown police Marshal Randy Williams, who was closest to the knife when Glass twisted in his seat.

“Every single other person on scene said it was justified,” Slinkard told the jury. “Justified because Christian Glass presented a threat, he had a deadly weapon in his hand and he — without question among all those other officers, all the different angles, (they) said the chief was in danger.”

The jury began deliberating mid-day on Wednesday.

A separate grand jury investigation into the incident in 2022 found Glass committed no crime, acted in panic and self-defense before he was killed, and never actually came close to stabbing the officers. The involved law enforcement agencies agreed to a $19 million settlement with Glass’ parents in May.

Buen was fired after he was indicted.

His supervisor, former Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kyle Gould was not there during the incident but gave Buen permission to break into Glass’ car.

Gould pleaded guilty to failing to intervene in the excessive force of another officer in November and was sentenced to two years of probation.

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