Nebraska Man Suspected of Fatally Shooting Black Protester in May Found Dead by Suicide
Jake Gardner, an Omaha, Nebraska, man indicted in connection to the May 30 shooting death of a 22-year-old Black protester, has died by suicide, his attorney told reporters.
On Sunday, Stu Dornan announced the news about Gardner, 38, during a press conference, saying, "The family of Jake Gardner has asked Tom Monaghan and myself to share the news of his death today, at his own hand," according to CNN.
The Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon issued a statement on Sunday, revealing that Gardner was found dead outside a medical clinic at about 12:20 p.m. "The cause of death is under investigation, but officers are not seeking any suspects and there is no danger to the community," said police in a press release.
Last week, Gardner, a bar owner, was indicted by a Douglas County grand jury on charges stemming from the fatal shooting of James Scurlock in Omaha on May 30.
“I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Gardner before his return, and he was really shook up,” Dornan told reporters, per the Omaha World-Herald. “The grand jury indictment was a shock to him, it was a shock to us, it was a shock to many people.”
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Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine previously said, CNN reports, that video of the May 30 incident shows a clash between protesters outside a bar in Omaha, with two demonstrators jumping on Gardner's back as he then shoots two warning shots.
Though he wasn't involved in the scuffle initially, Scurlock then appeared, with Gardner claiming that he tried to defend himself after being put in a headlock, shooting and killing Scurlock.
According to the World-Herald, the grand jury denied Gardner's claim that he was acting in self-defense during the fatal shooting of Scurlock. He was charged with manslaughter, making terroristic threats, weapon use and attempted first-degree assault.
The outlet also reports that Gardner's attorneys told reporters that he suffered two traumatic brain injuries during his military tours in Iraq.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.