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Daughter of man fatally shot by security officer in Salt Lake City speaks

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 14:59:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Michelle Higgins put together a memorial outside a Department of Workforce Services building in Salt Lake City in honor of her father, Thomas Stanfield, 54, who police say was shot and killed by a security officer Wednesday morning.

"I’m heartbroken. He didn’t need to go out that way," Higgins said.

Higgins, 24, got the call from her grandmother saying he'd been killed.

"Honestly, I think he was just walking by and I feel like the security officer profiled him and assumed and made a wrong judgement," Higgins said.

Thomas Stanfield

Salt Lake City Police say security officer Timothy Lutes, 26, confronted Stanfield near 140 E 300 S around 5 a.m. Wednesday because he thought he was trespassing. The two got into a fight, and then when Stanfield was walking away, shots were fired, according to Salt Lake City Public Information Officer Brandon Shearer.

"People do have a right to defend their life if they fear their life is threatened," Shearer said. "Based on what detectives learned during their investigation in this case, they did not feel that was what necessarily happened in this case."

Lutes has since been arrested and charged with murder.

"You can’t just shoot an innocent person," Higgins said. "I don’t care what you’re doing. You don’t kill people for no reason. It’s not fair."

Higgins said her father is homeless and suffers from mental health issues.

"They live on the streets," she said. "That’s what people do. They come here to live on the streets because nowhere is affordable, so I’m hoping this will wake up people."

Despite being homeless, Higgins says Stanfield had a family that loves him.

"A daughter, a son, grandchildren: You can’t just assume something," Higgins said.

A family that's now heartbroken.

"Nobody should have that, somebody ripped from their life like that, especially in that way," Higgins said.

The Department of Administrative Services employs the private security company Citadel Security USA, which employed Lutes, to monitor the plaza outside the Department of Workforce Services after hours.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Higgins believes her father was waiting outside the Department of Workforce Services building because he wanted help finding a job.

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

They tell Fox 13 that they're looking into the incident to determine if they need to find another security company.