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DENVER — Usually, Sally and Simon Glass would spend Jan. 3 celebrating the birthday of their son, Christian. This year, they spent the day sharing memories of him with friends, many of whom couldn't attend his funeral last summer. Aluminum 3d Printer
He would've turned 23 this year. Instead, Christian was shot and killed by police on June 10.
His parents said they don't want their son to get lost in stories about how it happened and don't want him to be remembered as the terrified young man in the bodycam footage.
"When you just focus on the incident, the police wrongdoing ... you lose sight," Sally said.." He was a person. He was a human being. He was a son. He was a brother, he was a friend."
Who was Christian Glass? His parents said their son was an artistic soul, curious about the world and loyal to his friends and family.
"He would meet everyone where they were at," Sally said. "He would take his 13-year-old cousin to those painting places where you paint plates and stuff. But he would have the patience to do that ... he just had so much kindness and time for everyone."
They said he also had a strong sense of justice – of what was right and wrong.
"When he was little, we called him the policeman in the playground because ... if he saw any type of behavior, he would go around the playground and tell them off," Sally said.
Christian was protective of his two sisters.
He had small groups of friends, and if you were Christian's friend, you were his friend for life, his parents said. It was a friend who hosted his birthday memorial, sharing pictures and videos with Simon and Sally that showed what they said was a goofy side of their son.
"Christian was a person, and he had a lot to offer the world," Simon said.
They said he loved rocks and crystals: Knowing where they came from and why they were different colors, and exploring certain meanings connected to different stones. Simon remembered his son's curiosity over how things worked and what made the world tick.
When Christian was younger, they said, there was a bouncy castle at school, and instead of going in the castle, he went around back to see how it stayed inflated. And then before you knew it, the bouncy castle was deflated. Not on purpose, of course.
They said they remember him being creative.
"Sometimes he would get bored in class, but he taught himself origami," Sally said. "And he said you'll never bored in class if there's a spare piece of paper."
Christian and his dad built things together as he got older, including a large arcade machine out of plywood, making their own circuit boards. Simon even got a 3D printer.
"I think a lot of his stuff that he was interested in became artistic, you know, how does it actually look?" Simon said. "What's the aesthetics of it, and that sort of thing. That seemed to be his driving force."
When the family lived England, Christian was an athlete, playing cricket and rugby. He picked up a bit up baseball, but in the United States, he gravitated more toward art, his parents said.
Christian was returning from a trip to Moab when he was killed, and pastel drawings he had done were still in the car. The Glasses have them now.
"Maslow's hierarchy of needs … you know, that top one where you're doing what you're really meant to do in life, and that's the most amazing thing," Sally said, talking about Christian's art. "I think for us he found that thing that really absorbed him, and he just loved it so much. It was so magical for him. So, we're pleased he got to do that before he died."
They said they framed a couple of pictures for their lawyers, too, so they'd know whom they're fighting for.
"They don't get to meet Christian, but it's a way for people that haven't met Christian to feel like they're getting to know him through his art," Sally said.
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