COVER STORY

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT NIPPERS?

The Nippers shooting that the Jax Beach police aren't talking about was the result of a fight between members of two motorcycle clubs. One of them is populated by law enforcement

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By now you may have heard them, the rumors flying all over Jacksonville Beach and even nationwide about the June 26 shooting at Nippers Beach Grille that claimed the life of 40-year-old Zachariah Tipton, a father of three and member of the Black Pistons motorcycle club. These rumors exist and have gained traction because there’s so much about Tipton’s death that we don’t know, information that the police are keeping from the public.

One thing the Jacksonville Beach Police Department did confirm is that the shooting resulted from an altercation between two area motorcycle clubs.

“It was a dispute between two motorcycle clubs that began very quickly and ended in violence,” spokesman Sgt. Thomas Crumley told Folio Weekly. But that’s all we know from official channels. The shooter’s name is being kept secret. So too is what provoked the altercation. The police incident report is so thin as to be utterly useless. Further obscuring matters, bikers have a habit of clamming up when violence occurs in the course of their regular activities; in addition, police have instructed witnesses not to talk to the press.

The information void led to speculation that the shooter was a cop, and that perhaps his fellow officers were protecting him. The speculation grew and intensified so much that last week, Jax Beach police felt the need to quash it, telling local media in no uncertain terms that the shooter was not and had never been in law enforcement.

That is true. It is also true that Tipton was killed by a single gunshot wound, not by four bullets, as the widely circulating rumors suggested. The cops say they have interviewed hundreds of potential witnesses (at least some of whom described hearing multiple gunshots), and have turned their information over to the office of State Attorney Angela Corey, where prosecutors will decide whether charges are warranted or if the shooting was justified.

But interviews this magazine has conducted over the past week with members of the biker community and people familiar with the events of June 26 — many of whom agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity — reveal that there is much more to this story. The shooter, whom Folio Weekly has been told is a member of the military, was a prospect of a motorcycle club called the Iron Order, a national organization heavily populated by cops and federal agents — both active and retired — and thousands of their friends, including many active or retired military. Their motto is to create chaos and get away with it, according to their own website and a published memorandum the group’s leaders reportedly have distributed.

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This story, which appears in the July 16-22 issue of Folio Weekly, is updated from an earlier version originally published online July 12. 

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Tags: Nippers, shooting, death, Jax Beach, Jacksonville beach, Tipton, Biker club, Zachariah Tipton, Jacksonville beach police, biker, Nippers Beach Grille, Angela Corey
4 comments on this story | Add your comment
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BPFFBP

To say most bikers don't wear helmets is completely irresponsible. Many black pistons, and yes, outlaws too wear helmets. I'm sure many other clubs do as well. Sunday, July 13|Report this

numberz

There are a lot of things I find odd about this situation. Sgt. Crumley never did say the shooter was not LE the published quote is

"To the best of our knowledge, no one directly involved in this incident is or ever was a law enforcement officer," Sgt. Thomas Crumley

That is not the same as saying "no one directly involved in this incident is or ever was a law enforcement officer"

The first statement leaves room for error the second is definitive, at the time this statement was made they should know and would not need the "To the best of our knowledge" qualifier

Seems odd to me

Monday, July 14|Report this

rl2813

Derrek, where did you get your information? you obviously have never been on the Iron Order website. Nothing that you said was on there. You are a joke of a reporter man, I understand that reporters make up their own stories from time to time but this is just pathetic and you have done NO research. Monday, July 14|Report this

numberz

Actually rl2813 it is is the faq page under the section "But what is up with those pictures on Facebook?"

Found here.

http://ironordermc.com/FAQs.aspx

Tuesday, July 15|Report this

 
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