Nine years for Wal-Mart shooter

  • By Associated Press
  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:32pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A double amputee who shot a Walmart manager after he was asked to put his service dog on a leash has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Daniel Pirtle declined to speak at Friday’s sentencing, The Anchorage Daily News reported. Back in November, he pleaded guilty to first-degree assault after prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge.

Pirtle, 46, was on a motorized shopping cart and legally armed with a .45-caliber pistol when he shot assistant manager Jason Mahi in the stomach. The March 2013 incident started when a customer complained to managers about Pirtle’s unleashed dog.

Mahi spent three months in a hospital and accumulated more than $1 million in medical bills. The 34-year-old suffered injuries to his hip, intestines, kidney and bladder, and he now walks with a cane.

“It’s been a rough road,” he told the court.

Pirtle was angry because Mahi asked him to put his 5-month-old dog, Wookie, on a leash or leave the store that was full of Saturday shoppers.

Testifying at the sentencing hearing, Michael Harrison said he was working behind the store’s gun counter when Pirtle told him he was probably getting kicked out because of the dog.

“I said we sold leashes in the store,” Harrison said. “He said all the kids in the store needed to be on … leashes.”

Pamela Nunooruk, another employee, said she was with Mahi when he spoke with Pirtle. It was a polite conversation, she said.

Surveillance footage played in court Friday showed Pirtle firing a single shot that sent Mahi to the floor.

Pirtle motored away “like nothing ever happened,” Harrison said.

Arguing for a seven-year sentence, the lowest in the range included the plea agreement, court-appointed defense lawyer Dan Lowery said his client was delusional at the time of the shooting.

Pirtle had undergone emotional trauma with the loss of both legs to diabetes, Lowery said. He had been on medication for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression up until two weeks before the shooting, Lowery said.

“That doesn’t mean that’s an excuse to go shoot somebody, but it certainly does give us some insight into why a man might be troubled,” Lowery said.

Judge Michael Spaan told Pirtle he was lucky he didn’t get shot in the chaos he created.

“You had people reaching for shotguns. You had police officers asking for guns,” Spaan said. “This was horrible, but it could have been a lot worse. It was a very crowded store, a very public place.”

More in News

Graphic by Ashlyn O'Hara
Borough, school district finalizing $65M bond package

Efforts to fund maintenance and repairs at school district facilities have been years in the making

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the House Majority Coalition spent most of Friday, May 13, 2022, in caucus meetings at the Alaska State Capitol, discussing how to proceed with a large budget bill some have called irresponsible. With a thin majority in the House of Representatives, there’s a possibility the budget could pass.
State budget work stretches into weekend

Sessions have been delayed and canceled since Wednesday

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Alaskans for Better Government members La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson and ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Barbara Blake embrace on the floor of the Alaska State Senate following the passage of House Bill 123, a bill to formally recognize the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.
Tribal recognition bill clears Senate, nears finish line

Senators say recognition of tribes was overdue

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain crew responds to a fire burning near Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Cooper Landing Emergency Services)
Officials encourage residents to firewise homes

The central peninsula has already had its first reported fires of the season

In this September 2017 file photo from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, beluga whales arch their backs through the surface of the water. Of Alaska’s five distinct beluga whale populations, only Cook Inlet’s is listed as endangered. (Courtesy the Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Celebrate belugas with virtual programming next week

The three-day event will include conferences and activities

Capt. Corey Wheeler, front, commander of B Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, walks away from a Chinook helicopter that landed on the glacier near Denali, April 24, 2016, on the Kahiltna Glacier in Alaska. The U.S. Army helped set up base camp on North America’s tallest mountain. The U.S. Army is poised to revamp its forces in Alaska to better prepare for future cold-weather conflicts, and it is expected to replace the larger, heavily equipped Stryker Brigade there with a more mobile, infantry unit better suited for the frigid fight, according to Army leaders. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Army poised to revamp Alaska forces to prep for Arctic fight

The U.S. has long viewed the Arctic as a growing area of competition with Russia and China

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Emergency orders, fishing conditions updated

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Sport Fish released a Northern Kenai fishing report Friday

My Alaskan Gifts is seen at the Kenai Municipal Airport on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Municipal Airport gets gift shop

Locally sourced Alaska products are the newest addition to the Kenai Municipal… Continue reading

FILE - A sign requiring masks as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus on a store front in Philadelphia, is seen Feb. 16, 2022. Philadelphia is reinstating its indoor mask mandate after reporting a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, the city’s top health official, announced Monday, April 11, 2022. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen more than 50% in 10 days, the threshold at which the city’s guidelines call for people to wear masks indoors. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
US marks 1 million COVID-19 deaths; 15 more reported in Alaska

The state Department of Health and Social Services reported 15 more COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read