As the death of George Floyd continues to inspire both peaceful and not-so-peaceful protests all over the country, a Saturday demonstration in Omaha, Neb., resulted in the death of another black man after he was allegedly shot by a white bar owner.
KETV-7 reports that 22-year-old James Scurlock died Saturday night after police heard gunshots during a protest, found him suffering from a gunshot wound and rushed him to the Nebraska Medical Center. According to Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, the shooter is in police custody and investigators aren’t looking for any other suspects, but no decision has been made as to whether he will face charges for Scurlock’s death.
“Any charging decision on that front will come from the county attorney’s office,” Schmaderer said at a press conference on Sunday. “And he tells me that will be accompanied by a press conference.” Schmaderer also noted that the suspect was detained, but was not jailed.
The police didn’t initially release the suspect’s name, but the Omaha World-Herald confirmed his identity as Jake Gardner, owner of the Hive and The Gatsby, two bars near the scene of the shooting. Several videos taken by protesters and other bystanders were posted on social media and police are asking that anyone with video footage turn it in to help with the investigation.
From the Herald:
In one video online, a bystander can be heard saying that a man, who appears to be Gardner, has a gun before the bystander shouts, “That’s not worth it!”
The man with a gun is approached by a group of people, including one who appears to be Scurlock.
After a scuffle ensues, at least two shots ring out before the video cuts off.
To be clear: Most of what’s rumored about Gardner comes from locals, protestors and others online who are calling for Scurlock’s killer to be brought to justice and hasn’t been confirmed by investigators. That being said, many are claiming that Gardner is a known bigot who was using racial slurs and taunting protestors while brandishing a gun.
According to the Herald, Gardner posted a message on Facebook just hours before the shooting that read, “Just when you think, ‘what else could 2020 throw at me?’ Then you have to pull 48 hours of military-style firewatch,”
Scurlock’s death sparked new protests and demonstrations in downtown Omaha over the weekend.
Scurlock’s father, whose first name is also James, spoke at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Visitors Center calling on Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine to bring charges against his son’s killer.
“Last night, I lost a son,” he said Sunday. “My kids lost a brother. His daughter lost a father. We want them to go to court.”