CRIME

Prosecutors file murder charge against security guard accused of shooting homeless man

Jun 26, 2018, 4:29 PM | Updated: 7:44 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed a formal murder charge on Tuesday against a private security guard accused of shooting and killing a man outside a government office building in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City police said Timothy Lutes, 26, called 911 shortly after 5:30 a.m. on the morning of June 20 and told a dispatcher that he had shot a trespasser who had attempted to take his gun during a brawl. Officers responded to the address at 150 East and 300 South to find the victim, Thomas Stanfield, dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Lutes reportedly told police that he had confronted Stanfield, who was homeless, while performing a patrol of the a plaza between the Heber Wells and Department of Workforce Services buildings. Lutes was working for a private security firm, Citadel Security, at the time.

Questions about Lutes’ account arose after detectives located surveillance video of the confrontation.

The charging documents filed by prosecutors said the video showed Lutes shining a flashlight in Stanfield’s face. Stanfield stood, moved some of his property around and then attacked Lutes.

“During this physical altercation that lasted several minutes, Mr. Stanfield can be seen disengaging and walking away from Lutes multiple times,” the court papers read. “At one point, Lutes knocks Mr. Stanfield to the ground and punches him several times while he is on the ground.”

The document then describe Stanfield getting to his feet again, tossing aside Lutes’ gun holster and attempting to walk away.

“Lutes is then seen standing up and appears to take aim at Mr. Stanfield’s back while Mr. Stanfield is walking away. Three muzzle flashes are seen before Mr. Stanfield falls to the ground,” the charges read.

Police reported finding three .40-caliber bullet casings at the scene. They located one bullet hole in an office window, with a slug inside that building.

Utah’s state medical examiner performed an autopsy on Stanfield and determined two bullets hit him in the back, killing him.

Lutes has been in the Salt Lake County Jail since the day of the shooting. A judge has set bail in the case at $1 million.

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Prosecutors file murder charge against security guard accused of shooting homeless man