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Grand jury decides to indict bar owner in shooting death of James Scurlock

Posted at 4:08 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 16:02:26-04

Update: Warrant issued for man accused of killing James Scurlock

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A grand jury has decided to indict bar owner Jake Gardner in the shooting death of James Scurlock.

Gardner has been indicted on manslaughter, use of a firearm, attempted first-degree assault and terroristic threats.

Surveillance footage showed Gardner fatally shooting Scurlock in the Old Market on May 30 during protests.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine originally announced he would not file charges, saying his investigation determined that Gardner felt his life was in danger.

But, after complaints from citizens, Kleine said he would back the formation of a grand jury to further investigate.

Special prosecutor Frederick Franklin III said the grand jury had much more information than the initial call from Kleine.

Franklin mentioned evidence of back and forth between Scurlock and Gardner, with Gardner threatening the use of deadly force towards Scurlock.

Evidence relative to Gardner’s state of mind was a part of what was presented to the grand jury.

Franklin said evidence came primarily from Gardner himself. The grand jury reviewed evidence from Gardner’s cell phone and Facebook messenger account along with video from inside his Old Market business.

Gardner will now be criminally charged and a trial will begin. A date has not yet been set for an initial appearance.

“This is not a time for celebration or exuberance -- these are simply charges. Jake Gardner is a man presumed innocent as I stand before you right now,” said Franklin.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert released the following statement on the grand jury's decision:

"I ask everyone to accept the grand jury’s decision and respect the confidentiality of the grand jury process. The case against Jake Gardner will now move to trial. The U.S. Constitution guarantees all defendants, including Mr. Gardner, a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. My priority now will be to keep our citizens and the city safe."

The grand jury's findings:

3 News Now Reporter Ruta Ulcinaite provided updates via Twitter: