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Warrant approved for Nebraska bar owner in protestor’s death

September 18, 2020 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been approved for a former Omaha bar owner who shot and killed a protester during a confrontation outside his bar in May.

Jake Gardner, 38, was charged Tuesday in the death of James Scurlock, 22, during a protest outside Gardner’s bar during civil unrest in downtown Omaha.

Gardner, who is white, was charged with manslaughter, attempted first-degree assault, making terroristic threats and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

He claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot Scurlock, a Black man.

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Douglas County District Judge James Gleason approved the warrant on Friday.

Gardner is believed to have gone to California shortly after the May 30 shooting, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Authorities said special prosecutor Fred Franklin has spoken with Gardner’s attorney, Stu Dornan, about arranging for Gardner to turn himself in.

Dornan has declined to comment on behalf of his client.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine initially decided not to charge Gardner, saying he acted in self-defense. After intense criticism, a grand jury was called to examine the case.

Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin said the grand jury saw additional evidence, including texts from Gardner’s phone and video inside the bar, that undermined Gardner’s self-defense claim.