One day before Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock outside his bar in downtown Omaha, President Trump threatened to send the military to Minneapolis in response to violent clashes between police and protesters following the death of George Floyd in police custody, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts. ”
The timing of Trump’s tweet, which Twitter has since removed from public view for violating its policy on glorifying violence, “is significant in terms of Jake Gardner’s affinity for the president, ” special prosecutor Fredrick Franklin told members of the press in Omaha on Wednesday.
Last Tuesday, Franklin announced that a grand jury had decided to indict Gardner on four felony charges, including manslaughter, in relation to the fatal shooting of Scurlock, a 22-year-old unarmed Black protester, during demonstrations against police violence in Omaha on May 30.
Over the weekend, attorneys representing Gardner confirmed the 38-year-old former Marine had committed suicide the same day he was scheduled to turn himself in to authorities. In addition to manslaughter, Gardner had been charged with felony counts of attempted first-degree assault, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and making terroristic threats. If convicted, he would have faced up to 95 years in prison.
Franklin said that he was “saddened about Jake Gardner having taken his own life, ” and said that “him doing so deprived the community to be able to have this evidence play out at trial. ” In what Franklin said would be his “last statement concerning Jake Gardner and James Scurlock, ” the special prosecutor offered new details about the events that led up to the fatal shooting.
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