SALT LAKE CITY — Surveillance camera footage released Friday shows the encounter that led up to a security guard shooting a homeless man in the back last year.
Early in the morning of June 20, Thomas Ray Stanfield, 54, died after a struggle with Citadel Security guard Timothy Richard Lutes, 26. Within days, Lutes was charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony.
Salt Lake civil rights attorney Robert Sykes released the video, which appears to depict a fatal game of cat and mouse.
Sykes is representing Stanfield's mother in a wrongful death lawsuit against Lutes and Citadel Security.
The encounter took place near the plaza area between the Heber Wells and Department of Workforce Services buildings, on 300 South between 140 East and 160 East, police have said.
The video starts with the figure of a man identified as Lutes approaching Stanfield, who is laying on the sidewalk, and shining a flashlight at him.
Stanfield starts to stand up and appears to be collecting his belongings while Lutes continues to shine the flashlight on him. Lutes then turns a strobe on his flashlight, aiming it at Stanfield's face, the footage shows.
The men then get into a fight that lasts about seven seconds before Stanfield starts backing away from Lutes. But Lutes again comes at him.
The video shows the men fighting and Stanfield breaking away four more times, at moments moving to continue collecting his possessions, with Lutes following him to start the scuffle again. At one point, one of the men can be seen over the other, punching him several times while he is on the ground.
The final time Stanfield appears to disentangle himself from Lutes, he starts again walking in the direction of his belongings. When Stanfield gets a few feet away from Lutes, Lutes shoots him in the back, the video shows.
Stanfield was staying at the Road Home shelter, according to his brother. Family members believe his goal on the morning of June 20 was to be first in line when the Department of Workforce Services opened so he could try to find a job, even if that meant showing up 2 1/2 hours before it opened.
"He was trying to find employment that's offered through state agencies to people who are struggling, who are homeless. And he was energized. And it doesn't surprise me he was down there at the time," Grant Stanfield has said.
The video released Friday matches the description police gave of the incident.
Police say Lutes spotted Stanfield "underneath the covered area of the southeast corner" of the Workforce Services building and kept shining his flashlight on Stanfield, which apparently aggravated him.
Lutes put his flashlight in "strobe mode" and kept it on Stanfield's face, even after Stanfield stood up and started moving, according to charging documents.
The two ended up getting into a fist fight, which lasted several minutes. In a mug shot taken following the shooting, Lutes has obvious injuries to his face, including a black eye and cut nose. Lutes claimed Stanfield took his holster and pointed his own firearm at him, a Salt Lake County Jail report states.Comment on this story
But Sykes has said surveillance video proves that to be false.
"Lutes is seen chasing after Mr. Stanfield and re-engaging him each time. At one point, Lutes knocks Mr. Stanfield to the ground and punches him several times while he is on the ground," according to the charges.
Lutes then called 911 to report that he had been attacked by a man who tried to take his gun, investigators wrote in the charging documents.
Lutes pleaded not guilty to the murder charge on Jan. 7. His next hearing is scheduled for April 29.