Jake Gardner, an ex-Marine who shot James Scurlock during May riots outside his Nebraska bar in apparent self-defense, has committed suicide in Oregon. 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.
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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.”
White supremacist Jake Gardner was indicted for the murder of a young Black man named James Scurlock.
A warrant was issued for his arrest LAST WEEK.
But the POLICE NEVER WENT TO ARREST HIM.
Today he committed suicide.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 20, 2020
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.
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) September 21, 2020
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