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Security guard charged with murder and sued by victim’s family

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah)- The family of a man who was allegedly shot and killed by a security guard last week has filed a lawsuit.

Last week, police arrested 26-year-old Timothy Lutes for murder after they say he shot at killed 54-year-old Thomas Stanfield. 

Tuesday, Stanfield’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lutes and the security company that hired him, Citadel-Chapman Security.

Family of Thomas stanfield filing wrongful death lawsuit against security company that hired guard who allegedly shot him in the back ⁦@abc4utah⁩ ⁦— Marcos Ortiz (@tv_mortiz) June 26, 2018

The family’s attorney, Robert Sykes claims Stanfield was afraid Lutes was going to hurt him and tried to walk away after he was confronted.

“Prior to the shooting, [Stanfield] is standing upright, facing away or walking away from Lutes. While facing away from Lutes, [he] took several steps further away from Lutes. Lutes then used his firearm and shot Thomas two times in the upper left side of his back,” the lawsuit states.

Sykes said Lutes claimed that before the shooting Stanfield had removed his firearm from his holster and “pointed his own gun at him,” but Sykes says that never happened.

“Video cameras which captured this event prove that claim by Lutes to be false. Thomas never had the firearm that belonged to Lutes, and never pointed it at him,” the lawsuit states.

Stanfield’s mother, Connie Elison and Grant Stanfield, a brother were also in attendance as Sykes announced the lawsuit against the security company.

“I can’t believe what happened that day,” said Elison.  “I am still in shock. I believe my son was murdered. I just want justice.”

She said her son has had a difficult life and returned to Utah in hopes of finding employment.  She claimed Stanfield was at the Workforce Services buillding at 5:30 a.m. “to be first in line.”  That’s when police said Lutes confronted Stanfield.  

Sykes said they filed the lawsuit prior to any criminal charges to stop Stanfield’s estranged daughter from benefiting.  Sykes said the daughter recently filed an action in court that names her as the rightful heir to his estate.  But Sykes said she has not had any involvement with her dad in ten years.  He also said she is his biological daughter but was adopted by another family member at a young age.
The Salt Lake District Attorney filed first-degree murder charges against Lutes late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the probable cause statement, Stanfield was lying on the ground by a pillar near the government building.  On the video, Lutes is seen “shining a flashlight on Stanfield’s face. As Stanfield attempts to gather his property, the flashlight continues to shine on him.  That’s when Stanfield “physically attacks Lutes.”  The probable cause statement then claimed Standfield walked away from Lutes “multiple times.”  Police claimed Lutes chased after Lutes and confronts him again. 

“At one point, Lutes knocks Mr. Stanfield to the ground and punches him several times while he is on the ground,” the probable cause statement stated.

According to the police investigation Stanfield gets away from Lutes and “throws Lutes’ empty gun holster to the ground and again walks away.”

Police claimed the surveillance video captured Lutes getting back up and “appears to take aim at Mr. Stanfield’s bck while Mr. Stanfield is walking away.  Three muzzle flashes are seen before Mr. Stanfield falls to the ground.”

Lutes remains in the Salt Lake County jail on a $1 million bond.

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