Man who shot Walmart employee from motorized shopping cart pleads guilty

Casey Grove

A double amputee who shot a Walmart assistant manager in a March dispute over a dog in the Midtown Anchorage store has struck a deal with state prosecutors.

Daniel Pirtle, 46, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of first-degree assault for the shooting that put Jason Mahi, 33, in a hospital for weeks. Pirtle was originally charged with attempted murder and misconduct involving a weapon.

Pirtle drove a motorized shopping cart inside the Walmart on March 16 and had an unrestrained, young service dog not on a leash, police said. Mahi asked Pirtle to leave if he would not leash the dog and was escorting Pirtle out when Pirtle shot him, police said.

An off-duty police sergeant who was shopping helped corral Pirtle, who was motoring out the store's front door as other officers arrived. Walmart employees made no announcement about the shooting, and shoppers in other parts of the store were unaware of what had happened, witnesses said.

The plea deal entered in court Friday is expected to get Pirtle a sentence of seven to 11 years behind bars, not including suspended time and the possibility of supervised release, Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion said Friday. The sentencing hearing is set for March, Campion said.

"He'll remain in custody until sentencing," Campion said.

Mahi, the victim, is doing much better, Campion said.

"He had a long period of recovery and rehabilitation. But it's our understanding he made a full recovery and he's back to work."

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