There have been no charges filed in the murder last Thursday night of Black Piston Zachariah “Nas T” Tipton outside Nippers Beach Grille in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Tipton was shot in the face and head four times during an altercation between three Black Pistons and two members of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club. The Iron Order identifies itself as “a law abiding motorcycle club.” Tipton is the only one of the five men involved in the altercation who has been officially identified.
The Black Pistons Motorcycle Club is closely identified with and supports the American Outlaws Association. Relations between the Iron Order and the Outlaws have been strained since at least 2009.
Police don’t want to talk about this case. Sergeant Tom Crumley, the public affairs officer for the Jacksonville Beach, Florida Police Department politely declined to comment about the case this afternoon. Attempts to talk to other federal and independent investigators who might have knowledge of the case have also been unsuccessful.
The Aging Rebel has been told by multiple sources that the two Iron Order members, a patched member and a prospect, anticipated the arrival of the Black Pistons at the Nippers Bike Night event and were prepared for a conflict. According to the sources, the Iron Order members were in Nippers for an hour before the Black Pistons arrived and inquired about the Black Pistons estimated time of arrival.
Nippers owner Rudy Theale told the Florida Times-Union “the incident started and ended outside and neither the victim or the gunman were paying patrons that night.” The Aging Rebel believes Theale misspoke when he made that statement. It is unclear whether the Black Pistons had time to buy a drink before they became embroiled in a disagreement with the Iron Order members.
The disagreement was over the display of Iron Order insignia in Jacksonville. Both the Iron Order and the Outlaws wear insignia that is black and white. Generally, in the motorcycle club world, new clubs solicit the advice of established clubs about the display of insignia. For example, if members of the Iron Order committed a crime in Jacksonville, civilians and police officers might mistake the Iron Order insignia for A.O.A. insignia and erroneously assume the crime had been committed by Outlaws.
One of the two Iron Order members involved in the fight took responsibility for shooting Tipton. According to an eyewitness, when police asked who shot Tipton the Iron Order prospect answered “I did.” Tipton was shot three times in the face and once in the temple. Multiple, independent sources have identified the Iron Order prospect as a former Jacksonville area police officer. Multiple sources have also alleged that the actual shooter was the other Iron Order member involved in the altercation.
The same sources have speculated that the prospect assumed responsibility for the shooting because his status as a former police officer would lead investigators accept his ”confession” at face value. Although Crumley declined to confirm it, The Aging Rebel believes the unnamed prospect was released from custody over the weekend. Crumley denied that there was “any suspect” and declined to say whether the confessed shooter’s hands had been tested for gunpowder residue. Crumley previously stated that the investigation of Tipton’s death involved interviewing 230 potential witnesses.
As usually happens following shootings, police are not releasing the make or caliber of the pistol used to kill Tipton.
The Iron Order states it “was started by a few hardcore bikers in a garage on July 4, 2004.” The Iron Order was originally a motorcycle club for members of law enforcement and the club still has numerous members who are local, state and federal police officers.
The Iron Order incorporated in Kentucky on September 25, 2008 as “Iron Order MC Hopnmad, LLC.” The registered agent for the limited liability corporation is John C. Whitfield and the official address for the corporation is 29 E. Center Street Madisonville, KY 42431 which is also the address of a law firm named Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP. Whitfield was out of his office and unavailable for comment today.
The LLC categorizes itself as a civic organization with annual revenues of about $110,000.