White bar owner charged with killing Black protester in Omaha kills himself

James Scurlock memorial

Police in Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb just west of Portland, confirmed in a statement that Gardner's body was found on Sunday outside a medical clinic, but did not immediately classify it as a suicide. The Hillsboro Police Department said the man's cause of death was under investigation, but officers were not seeking any suspects and there was no danger to the community.

Attorney Tom Monaghan, who also spoke during Sunday's news conference, said "the community of Omaha had convicted Mr. Gardner on social media".

An Omaha bar owner who fatally shot a protester in May - during the weekend riots across the country following the death of George Floyd - has allegedly died by suicide after being indicted last week on charges involving the incident.

A grand jury charged Gardner last week with four felonies, including manslaughter, weapon use, terroristic threats and attempted first-degree assault.

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Gardner said the shooting was in self-defense. After an 18-second struggle, Gardner switched the gun to his left hand and fired over his shoulder, killing Scurlock, the World-Herald reported.

After criticism from the public and a suggestion by the attorney for the Scurlock family they could petition for a grand jury review, Kleine agreed to call for a grand jury himself, saying he stood by his decision but wasn't afraid to have others review the case, the World-Herald reported. The lawyer added that the charges came as a shock to Gardner, calling the shooting "a clear case of self-defense". He was scheduled to return to Omaha on Sunday night to face charges. "The grand jury indictment was a shock to him, it was a shock to us, it was a shock to many people".

Gardner told authorities that he said to Scurlock and his friends, "Keep the f*** away from me", and appeared to lift his shirt to show he was armed.

Gardner's attorneys, noting that he was an Iraq war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said they were confident he would have been acquitted. His attorneys believe Gardner was doing his best to recover from the trauma he was involved with the night Scurlock was killed, including the loss of his business and his job. Following the fatal shooting, Gardner faced death threats, and the owner of the building that housed the bar revoked his lease. The manslaughter charge accused Gardner, 38, of intentionally killing James Scurlock, 22, during a sudden quarrel. 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".

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