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21 Sep, 2020 17:54

Nebraska bar owner who shot black protester dead in ‘self-defense’ takes own life ahead of prosecution

Nebraska bar owner who shot black protester dead in ‘self-defense’ takes own life ahead of prosecution

Jake Gardner, an ex-Marine who shot James Scurlock during May riots outside his Nebraska bar in apparent self-defense, has ended his life by suicide. He was due to face trial for the shooting, pressed for by BLM activists.

As protests against the killing of George Floyd spread beyond Minneapolis and across the US, Gardner and his father attempted to warn off a crowd of rioters outside their bar in Omaha, Nebraska. When two rioters tackled him from behind, Gardner fired a warning shot, before shooting 21-year-old Scurlock, who allegedly tried to attack him from the front.

Also on rt.com Online activists demand #JusticeForJamesScurlock after bar owner shoots black protester in ‘self-defense’ killing

Scurlock died, and while Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine initially declined to press charges, he reversed course last week under pressure from Black Lives Matter activists. Gardner was charged with manslaughter, attempted assault, unlawful use of a firearm, and terroristic threats.

A warrant for his arrest was issued on Friday, but he was found dead on Sunday outside a medical clinic near Portland, Oregon. His attorney told reporters that Gardner died “at his own hand,” and had fled Omaha after the shooting as “there was great risk” to his safety. The lawyer added that the charges came as a shock to Gardner, calling the shooting “a clear case of self-defense.”

After killing Scurlock, Gardner was vilified by BLM activists. His own cousin took to Twitter to call the former Marine a “white supremacist,” and scores of rioters were arrested during the BLM protests that followed.  

Reacting to Gardner’s death, BLM activist Shaun King described his suicide as a denial of justice. Even Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt shared the news of his death by writing“Jake Gardner is gone, but the white supremacist attitudes that emboldened him are still with us today.” 

However, there isn’t much evidence that Gardner harbored any white supremacist or racist beliefs. In video footage from 2017, he was interviewed at the inauguration of President Donald Trump. In the video, he said he supported both the president and the rights of those protesting against him, and discussed his belief in free expression and “libertarian” politics.

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