Mother of man shot and killed in Salt Lake City last week sues security company and guard

UPDATE: Timothy Richard has officially been charged with murder by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The family of a man who was shot and killed in Salt Lake City has filed a lawsuit against the security guard facing a murder charge in the case.

Attorney Robert Sykes is representing the mother of Thomas Ray Stanfield, who was fatally shot after an altercation with a security guard, Timothy Lutes, outside the Department of Workforce Services Building on June 20. 

Lutes, who was working for Citadel Security at the time of the shooting, was booked into jail and faces a murder charge in the case.

Police reported that Lutes shot and killed Stanfield after confronting him about alleged trespassing but said Stanfield appears to have been walking away from Lutes when the shots were fired.

The lawsuit states Stanfield was waiting in the plaza between the two state-owned buildings near 140 E 300 S so he could be "first in line to get information about a job opportunity and/or housing" and that Stanfield had been living at the nearby Road Home shelter in recent months.

The Department of Workforce Services does provide assistance with job searches, but not at that location.

“He was trying to get his life together. He needed some help to be able to do that. We talked about him coming here to go to workforce services. I asked where are you staying, and he says, 'well I’m in the road home,'” said Grant Stanfield, Thomas' brother.

Stanfield’s family said that his homelessness was mostly due to issues with addiction.

“That made it difficult for the family to support because sometimes addicts create an environment in someone’s home where it’s not safe,” said Grant Stanfield.

The lawsuit states both men threw punches during the altercation that ensued after Lutes made contact with Stanfield. The lawsuit states Lutes claimed that Stanfield had removed Lutes' holster and pointed Lutes' own firearm at him, but alleges video evidence disputes Lutes' account.

At the time of Lutes' arrest, police said detectives reviewed video of the incident and said it did not appear that Lutes acted in self-defense when he fired his weapon. The lawsuit further alleges that Stanfield tried to leave the scene at least twice but that Lutes continued to engage him and prevent him from leaving.

Lutes shot Stanfield twice in the upper left side of his back after Stanfield had taken several steps away from Lutes, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of Lutes and Citadel Security and that Citadel failed to train or supervise Lutes appropriately. The suit also alleges that Lutes used excessive force in the encounter in violation of Stanfield's constitutional rights and further alleges willful misconduct/wrongful death on the part of all defendants.

Referring to disturbing posts on Lutes’ Facebook page, like one that reads “praying and changing your profile picture won’t help…getting mad and killing bad guys will,” Attorney Robert Sykes says there were signs that Lutes wasn’t cut out for the job.

“We don’t think you should hire someone who has a lot of problems, give them a gun, and post him at a place where he can interact with the public,” said Sykes.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration the use of lethal force in the case was unconstitutional and for economic and non-economic damages as well as attorney fees and punitive damages. The lawsuit did not state any specific amounts sought for damages.

Fox 13 News has reached out to Citadel Security for comment on the lawsuit and will update this story should they respond.