Nebraska bar owner accused of fatally shooting BLM protester dead by suicide, lawyer says

OMAHA, Neb. — Jake Gardner, the Nebraska bar owner accused of manslaughter in the May 30 shooting death of a Black Lives Matter protester, has died by suicide on the day he was supposed to surrender to authorities, his attorney said.

Stu Dornan, Gardner’s attorney, confirmed the death and its cause to WOWT on Sunday.

Gardner, 38, was accused of shooting James Scurlock, 22, in the neck after he jumped on the bar owner, who had fired his handgun during a skirmish with other protesters outside his businesses in Omaha’s Old Market section.

The racial justice protest erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Gardner was charged with manslaughter, attempted first-degree assault, making terroristic threats and weapons use while committing a felony.

Gardner, who was scheduled to turn himself in Sunday, had been in Oregon, WOWT reported.

Officials told KETV that Gardner’s body was found Sunday in the Portland area and that he did not leave a note.

Dornan said his client had been scheduled to return to Omaha on Sunday evening.

“The family of Jake Gardner has asked Tom Monaghan and myself to share the news of his death today, at his own hand,” he said.

According to Dornan, Gardner received death threats following Scurlock’s death and left Omaha for California, KETV reported.

“The grand jury indictment was a shock to him. He was really shook up,” Dornan told the TV station.

A statement issued by the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon confirmed Gardner’s body was found at about 12:20 p.m. “outside a medical clinic.”

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