Details of the murder of Black Pistons patch holder Zachariah “Nas T” Tipton Thursday night in a parking lot outside a Jacksonville Beach, Florida restaurant named Nippers Beach Grille continue to emerge.
Tipton, above, was shot four times in the face by an Iron Order motorcycle club prospect. The prospect’s name is being withheld by police. The prospect is a former police officer who was initially held by police in protective custody. The Aging Rebel has not been able to determine if the anonymous prospect remained in protective custody Saturday morning. The shooter has told police he acted in self defense. Informed sources speaking on condition of anonymity have said they do not expect the shooter to be charged.
Jacksonville Beach police have camouflaged the investigation in a fog of details. Police have publically implied that the shooting was motiveless and that investigators continue to interview “230 witnesses.”
The Aging Rebel has concluded that Tipton’s death was a murder. The shooting followed an altercation between two members of the Iron Order including the anonymous shooter and probably six opponents including Tipton. About 8:10 p.m. Thursday Tipton and his companions disagreed with the Iron Order members about whether it was appropriate for the Iron Order members to display their Iron Order insignia at the Nippers’ “Bike Night” co-sponsored with Adamec Harley-Davidson. The eight men all voluntarily left the bar and adjourned to the parking lot to engage in mutual combat. No one compelled the Iron Order members to leave the bar. After Tipton bloodied the ex-police officer’s nose the bloodied man pulled a gun and shot Tipton four times in the face.
Nippers bartender Lucas Duran, who is an Air Force Reserve medic, immediately administered first aid but was unable to save Tipton’s life. Duran told the Florida Times-Union “He had a faint pulse when we got there so we kept doing CPR and he started to get some color back but with that much trauma to the head – the bullet he took was to the right side of his head – the ability to survive that is pretty slim.”
Nippers owner Rudy Theale told the Times-Union “the incident started and ended outside and neither the victim nor the gunman were paying patrons that night.”
Iron Order members routinely cooperate with police and are encouraged to do so by club leaders. Black Pistons members do not usually cooperate with police. Consequently, most officials statements about Tipton’s murder are likely to reflect the Iron Order’s version of events.
Yesterday afternoon Jacksonville Beach police spokesman Sergeant Thomas Crumley issued the following vague statement about the case: “At this time, there are a number of people alleged to be involved or have some involvement in this investigation…. Due to the large scope of this investigation, the determination of appropriate or possible charges has not been reached at this time.”
Tipton, who was 40, left behind a wife and three children. Nippers will sponsor a fundraiser today, Saturday June 28, to assist Tipron’s survivors pay his funeral expenses.