SALT LAKE CITY – The legal troubles continue to pile on for a security guard accused of shooting a homeless man in the back and killing him between two buildings downtown. The family of the victim is announcing a lawsuit on the same day first degree murder charges are filed.
The mother of Thomas Stanfield is suing the accused shooter, Timothy Lutes, and the company he worked for.
Stanfield’s mother, Connie Elison, can vividly remember getting the call from the police after the shooting earlier this month.
“When the police called me and told me my son had been killed, it sent me into a… I couldn’t even think,” Elison says, adding, “Unless you’re a mother, you don’t know how much your children mean to you, even as old as he was.”
Stanfield had been homeless for a while and was staying at The Road Home, lately. His brother, Grant Stanfield, says he was trying to turn his life around, which is why he was outside the Heber Wells early in the morning of June 20. Stanfield says his brother was planning to wait in line to get job placement assistance from the Department of Workforce Services. Officials with the DWS say they don’t offer that kind of service in that building, but they’re not sure if Stanfield knew that.
“He was trying to get his life together and he needed some help in order to do that. We talked about coming here to Workforce Services,” Stanfield says.
Attorneys say the lawsuit is essentially over negligence and failure to properly train Lutes. Robert Sykes represents Elison, and he believes Lutes was not properly vetted before he was given a gun.
“We believe that this company, Citadel-Chapman Security, was highly negligent in not only hiring this particular individual, but supervising him,” Sykes says.
He adds that Lutes should have never pulled a firearm on someone who was essentially napping in the area.
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