His daughter thinks Thomas Stanfield, 54, showed up at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday at a plaza outside Utah state offices so he could look for a job later that morning, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.
Instead, the homeless man had a confrontation with private security guard Timothy Lutes, 26, who shot Stanfield twice in the back as he walked away, killing him, police told the publication.
Michelle Higgins, 24, told the Tribune that her father visited the Utah Department of Workforce Services daily to look for work.
“He was trying to get help from the state,” she told the publication. “He was just walking by.”
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Lutes, who works for Citadel Security USA, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, reported KSL.
Lutes told police that Stanfield punched him after being told to leave the plaza and a fight broke out, during which Stanfield snatched away the guard’s gun and pointed it at him, KSL reported.
But a surveillance video shows Stanfield repeatedly walking away from Lutes, who continues to interact with him, police told KSL. Finally, as Stanfield took several steps away from him, Lutes opened fire, hitting him twice in the back and killing him, police said.
"People do have a right to defend their life if they fear their life is threatened," Officer Brandon Shearer told KSTU. "Based on what detectives learned during their investigation in this case, they did not feel that was what necessarily happened in this case."
Higgins told the station she was “heartbroken” when she learned her father had been killed.
“He didn’t need to go out that way,” Higgins told KSTU. “You can’t just shoot an innocent person. I don’t care what you’re doing. You don’t kill people for no reason. It’s not fair."
But Higgins told The Deseret News that she forgives Lutes. "And I want him to know that I do forgive him, I do," she said. "I feel like he acted out of anger and I hope he gets help."
Citadel Security USA issued a statement saying it was cooperating fully with police and expressing "heartfelt grief for the individual that lost their life,” reported the publication.