A Nebraska bar owner who was indicted by a grand jury last week in the fatal shooting of a Black protester has died by suicide, his attorney Stu Dornan announced during a news conference Sunday.
“The family of Jake Gardner has asked Tom Monaghan and myself to share the news of his death today, at his own hand,” Dornan said.
Gardner, 38, was found dead inside a medical clinic outside of Portland, Oregon, Sunday afternoon, the Hillsboro Police Department said in a news release.
Gardner was indicted by a Douglas County, Nebraska, grand jury Wednesday on charges of manslaughter, the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, attempted first degree assault and terroristic threats.
Video of the incident showed Gardner’s father push a protester after asking them to leave the area around the Gatsby bar. The unidentified man pushed Gardner’s father back and Gardner intervened, showing a handgun, according to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.
Two protesters then jumped on Gardner’s back and he fired two warning shots. Scurlock, who was not a part of the initial confrontation, then entered the scene, Kleine said.
Gardner said he was put in a headlock and begged to be let go before shooting Scurlock in the clavicle, according to Kleine.
Kleine initially declined to bring charges against Gardner, saying he acted in self-defense and didn’t believe that he was “somebody who walked out and was trying to hunt down somebody.”
But only days later, Kleine asked for a grand jury to review his decision.
Dornan described Gardner as a decorated veteran who served two tours in Iraq and suffered from two traumatic brain injuries. The attorney said that his client had cooperated with authorities the night of the shooting.
“He told us that he felt that he was in the war zone that night outside of his bar with violence, the tear gas, and the mass confusion,” Dornan explained.
Dornan said “there was great risk to Mr. Gardner” following the shooting, so he left town. He was scheduled to return to Nebraska Sunday night to face the charges.
Dornan said the indictment was a shock to Gardner and called the shooting “a clear case of self-defense.”
CNN’s Kevin Flower, Christine Sever and Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.