Father of Christian Glass pays tribute to son as 'honest kid' with 'strong values'

The father of a Kiwi shot and killed in the United States has paid tribute to his son in an interview with AM on Monday morning.  

In June last year, Christchurch-born Christian Glass called for roadside assistance when his car got stuck during an apparent mental health crisis in the Colorado town of Silver Plume in Clear Creek County, about an hour and 15 minutes from his home in Louisville, just north of Denver.   

Body-camera footage showed Glass, at times, making heart signs with his hands to the officers, though he refused to leave his vehicle. The hour-long stand-off ended with officers smashing a window, tasering Glass and finally shooting him.

Last week, charges were brought against six US police officers for their failure to intervene in the fatal shooting of Glass and a former deputy, Sgt Kyle Gould, who was not at the scene but watching via livestream body camera, pleaded guilty for failing to intervene. 

The deputy sheriff who fired the fatal shots has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment.

Christian's father, Simon Glass, appeared on AM on Monday morning from Colorado and paid tribute to his son saying he was an honest kid and his death is something he and his family will struggle to get over.   

"I think people know now that he called for help and was an innocent victim of a terrible crime. He was very kind, he had very strong morals. He really stood up to bullies, so he leaves a gap because nobody knew about it for some months and they never released his name," he said.  

"Many of his friends came to us afterwards, who we didn't know and just to get in touch, and said 'we wondered what happened to him, we couldn't get hold of him'. He's definitely left a hole here in Colorado and I don't know how we will ever get over this, but we're just doing what we can." 

Christian Glass.
Christian Glass. Photo credit: Supplied

Simon told AM co-host Ryan Bridge the additional charges for failing to intervene are significant because they recognise the officers did not act alone.  

"It's very good news because what we've been asking for, for the last 17 months is for everyone there to be held responsible for their failures and with the indictments on Friday, that has happened. Everybody there has now been admitted for one thing or another," Simon said. 

Simon said lessons must be learned at an institutional level to ensure this never happens again and told AM the charges and admission of guilt by former Sgt Gould are "very important".  

"It's an admission of guilt and our first problem was to clear Christian's name and then we were looking for justice and this is the first piece of justice we can point to," he said. 

Watch the full interview above.

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