Jake Gardner, the white bar owner accused of intentionally shooting and killing a 22-year-old black George Floyd protester in downtown Omaha on May 30, was found dead near Portland, Oregon, over the weekend.
"At about 12:20 p.m., Hillsboro Police Department officers responded to the 300 block of Southeast Ninth Avenue after a body was found outside a medical clinic. They discovered 38-year-old Jacob Gardner of Omaha, Nebraska, dead," the police said in a statement.
Gardner shot himself after authorities in Hillsboro, Oregon, received reports of a suicidal man, said two law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Gardner Charged With Manslaughter
A grand jury charged Gardner last week with four felonies, including manslaughter, weapon use, terroristic threats and attempted first-degree assault. The manslaughter charge accused Gardner, 38, of intentionally killing James Scurlock, 22, during a sudden quarrel. He faced up to 95 years in prison had he been convicted of all the charges.
As previously reported, the shooting was captured on video and showed Gardner in an altercation with Scurlock on the sidewalk outside the former's bar moments before two gunshots rings out. Scurlock was shot and rushed to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Gardner Said He Was Protecting His Business From Rioters
Gardner and his legal counsel had claimed he was trying to defend his property from rioters. His attorney also maintained that Gardner, who served two tours in Iraq and suffered two brain injuries, was suffering from PTSD at the time of the shooting and had acted in self-defense.
Shortly before the incident, Gardner took to Facebook to share a post insinuating that he was going on "military style firewatch" to protect his club from rioters.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine initially said there was evidence to support that claim and declined to charge Gardner, ruling that his actions amounted to self-defense. However, Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin said on Tuesday that the grand jury had reviewed additional information, including evidence from Gardner's phone and his Facebook Messenger account, along with video, that "was consistent with there being an intentional killing."
On Friday, Douglas County District Judge James Gleason signed off on a warrant for Gardner's arrest. "I'm angry he didn't have the opportunity for a fair trial, for a fair hearing," his lawyer said.