An Omaha bar owner who shot and killed a protester outside of his establishment Saturday night will not be charged. The county attorney has ruled the shooting one of self defense.
Bar owner Jacob Gardner was taken into custody following the shooting of 22-year-old James Scurlock. The altercation was captured on video and shared widely on social media.
Scurlock was captured on other security footage breaking windows as part of a George Floyd death “protest.”
“It can’t be based on emotions, it can’t be based on anger, it can’t be based on any of those things,” said County Attorney Kleine when explaining his decision.
Surveillance footage shows Gardner’s 68-year-old father being violently pushed to the ground by a protester, part of the footage that’s difficult to find as it’s not included in much of the media coverage of this particular tragedy. Gardner ran to find out who had pushed his father, and revealed his firearm.
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According to the prosecutor, Gardner was pushed down during a scuffle and fired two shots. Scurlock then jumped on top of Gardner and “maintained a chokehold around his neck,” while Gardner could be heard saying “get off me” many times, Kleine said in a press conference Monday. Gardner fired his gun again, fatally striking Scurlock in the clavicle.
Scurlock was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. Gardner had a concealed carry weapon permit that was expired at the time of the shooting, Kleine said, according to WOWT. It was not immediately clear who was representing Gardner and Gardner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The confrontation began when Gardner’s father pushed some of the protesters when asking them to leave the bar. One of the protesters pushed back at Gardner’s father, which is when Gardner intervened, according to Kleine.
Kleine also said at a Monday press conference that despite what was being said on social media, there “was never any racial tone to any of the conversation” between Gardner and Scurlock.
More details of the shooting from the Omaha World-Heard:
Walking backward, Gardner lifts his shirt to show a handgun, then pulls it to his side and continues backing up. Two people from Scurlock’s group — a man and a woman — tackle Gardner, who ends up on his back in a puddle in the street.
He fires twice into the air — he characterized them as warning shots in an interview with Omaha police. The two people run away from him.
Four seconds after that, Scurlock rushes from the sidewalk and dives on Gardner. Kleine said Scurlock was on Gardner’s back and had his arm around the bar owner’s neck. Gardner could be heard on another bystander’s video hollering, “Get off me, get off me.”
His right arm pinned, Kleine said, Gardner switched the gun to his left hand and fired over his shoulder. The bullet hit Scurlock in the shoulder-neck area
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