Derek Kinner, who writes for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly and who has been trying to cover the Zach Tipton murder case, blasted State Attorney Angela Corey in an open letter this week for “keeping important information – in this situation I am specifically referring to Tipton’s shooting – out of the public eye as long as possible, thus harming public perception of the event and whether law enforcement is involved, and leading to rampant speculation.”
“On July 28, I received this email from your office in response to my request to confirm the name of the shooter in the month-old case of Zachariah Tipton’s death at Nippers Beach Grille in Jacksonville Beach:
“ Derek, the SAO’s statement is below:
“ The State Attorney’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation into the fatal shooting at Nippers. An investigation can take weeks or even months to complete. At this time, no information will be released regarding the pending investigation.’”
“Jackelyn Barnard, Director of Communications”
The Aging Rebel believes the name Kinner tried to confirm was Jay Church. In a recent Iron Order Motorcycle Club membership directory, Church is listed as a prospect with the Merritt Island Florida chapter of the Iron Order. The prospect is one of two members of the Iron Order named Jay Church. A patched member of the club named Jay “Popeye” Church is a member of the Ashland, Kentucky Police Department.
The Aging Rebel contacted the prospect Church on July 15 by email. That email read in full, “I have been told, by a source who may or may not know what he is talking about, that you witnessed the shooting of Zach Tipton. If you were there and you have something to say I would like to hear it. I protect sources. Thanks for your time.”
Prospect Jay Church replied, “Not sure what you’re talking about.”
The Aging Rebel also contacted Jay “Popeye” Church the same day. He did not respond.
More Open Letter
Kinner’s 2000 word letter continues:
“Until you say otherwise, Zachariah Tipton was a victim. Yes, I have learned he was a member of the Black Pistons, which are part of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and rivals of the Iron Order, and that an Iron Order prospect may have shot Tipton during an altercation. But no one – including Tipton’s family and friends – has learned anything about the case except for a few bare-facts news stories, rampant rumors, and from this publication’s July 16 cover story. (I reported that story with no help from your office, and very little help from the initial investigating agency, the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.)”
“When you speak of victims, do you mean only the ones you like or have connections with or can advance your career? I haven’t seen you do any press conferences with Tipton’s family like you did with the families of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. But I have seen Tipton’s family and friends protest outside your office because you refuse to talk to them, whether to deliver good or bad news, or simply tell them the truth about why their loved one is dead.”