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

From right, Soldotna City Council members Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Dan Nelson and Jordan Chilson listen to testimony during a council meeting on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Council to mull limits on use of Soldotna ADUs as short-term rentals

Accessory dwelling units refer to subordinate, detached units

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Wildlife Troopers and CES rescue hunter missing for 12 hours

State troopers were notified around 6 p.m. Wednesday that the hunter hadn’t returned

The Alaska State Capitol awaits a legislators forming new majority coalitions and the return of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the winners of the general election were announced Wednesday. The Senate will have a 17-member bipartisan ruling coalition, while the House arrangement remains uncertain due to at least one likely recount and questions about partisan alignments. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Bipartisan majority formed for new state Senate

Eight Republicans join nine Democrats after many years of Republican rule

Dr. Michael Reyes manipulates ROSA during a demonstration at Central Peninsula Hospital on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Knee surgeries get assist from robot arms

Robotic Surgical Assistant, called ROSA, is a new addition to CPH and the first in Alaska

During a hearing at the Juneau Courthouse, 34-year-old Anthony Michael Migliaccio pleaded not guilty after he was arrested on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of a 55-year-old Juneau woman. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Man arrested in Juneau killing pleads not guilty

News follows a two-month investigation.

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank presents during a budget work session on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai tries again to fill city manager position

After 1st round of negotiations fall through, Kenai to pursue Eubank for role

Soldotna Montessori Charter School kindergartners parade with balloons around the school playground on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Balloons on parade

Montessori kids put spin on traditional Macy’s parade

Most Read