A Nebraska Marine Corps veteran took his own life after being charged with manslaughter- all because he defended his own business from rioters.
Jake Gardner’s body was found outside of a medical clinic on Sunday, in what authorities believe was death by suicide.
The incident came less than a week after a grand jury in Omaha decided to charge Gardner with manslaughter for shooting James Schurlock during the Omaha riots in May.
Gardner, who had served two tours in Iraq with the USMC, “was really shook up” by the indictment and death threats he received, according to his attorney, Stu Gorman.
Gorman stated that Gardner was planning to turn himself in following the indictment, and had previously gone into hiding on the West Coast.
On the night of the riots, Gardner publicly stated on social media that he was going to his establishment to “pull a military-style firewatch,” in order to prevent his business from becoming another ashen casualty of rioting.
According to Omaha.com, Gardner’s attorneys allege that Scurlock had the Marine veteran in a chokehold and refused to let up during a melee, despite Garner repeatedly demanding the man let go.
When Scurlock reportedly continued, Gardner, fearing for his life, drew his handgun and fired over his shoulder, killing his assailant.
A friend of Scurlock, Tucker Randall, had reportedly kicked off the incident when he hurled a signpost into the bar, prompting Gardner and his father to believe that the windows were being shot out.
Upon confronting Scurlock and Randall, Gardner was knocked off his feet by the latter individual.
Gardner’s father, David, reportedly shoved Scurlock as Gardner got to his feet. In response, Scurlock pushed a bystander next to Gardner, and Gardner backed up, revealing a firearm and stating “Don’t fu** with me.”
Drawing his firearm, Gardner eventually re-holstered and was tackled by a female rioter, knocking him to the ground once again.
While on the ground, Gardner fired two “warning shots,” prompting Randall and the woman to flee.
As his comrades fled for safety, Scurlock jumped onto Gardner’s back and began choking him, prompting Gardner’s lethal response.
Following the incident, Gardner lost his businesses and his home, and showed concerns about losing his freedom.
“I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Gardner before his return, and he was really shook up,” Dornan said. “The grand jury indictment was a shock to him, it was a shock to us, it was a shock to many people.”
The charges levied against Garnder included manslaughter, attempted first-degree assault, terroristic threats and weapon use.
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