Family of man killed outside Nippers want answers

By Ashley Harding - Reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family and friends of the man shot outside Nippers' restaurant at Jacksonville Beach in June gathered Friday for what they described as a peaceful protest in front of the Duval County Courthouse. 

Police said 40-year-old Zachariah Tipton was killed after a group of men got into a verbal altercation that quickly became a fight outside the restaurant at 2309 Beach Boulevard about 8 p.m. June 26. 

Jacksonville Beach police have not released the shooter's name or other details to the public, but denied rumors that he is or was ever a law enforcement officer. Contacted Friday afternoon, they said no updated information about the case was available.

Tipton's family said they are frustrated because they have received no new information from the police the State Attorney's Office. They say their questions involving Tipton's death have fallen on deaf ears.

In front of the courthouse Friday, family and friends held signs and wore T-shirts calling for answers into the investigation.

"With 230 witnesses or more, I'm sure there's footage of some sort," said Tina Tipton, the victim's sister. "The person that said he shot my brother was arrested or taken into custody, and we don't even know why he was released, or even what his name is."

"I want (State Attorney) Angela Corey to open her doors and give this family the answers they deserve," said Laurie Messner, a family friend. "Whether it is what they want to hear or not, they deserve the answers."

In a statement provided to News4Jax, the state attorney's office wrote: 

"We understand the Tipton family's desire to have information regarding the Nippers shooting  investigation. However, the State Attorney's Office (SAO) has a duty to conduct a thorough  review of all facts and evidence. In our conversations with the family, the SAO has notified them that specific facts and evidence cannot be legally released until the investigation is  complete. We have also alerted the family that the review can take weeks or even months to  finish. The information being requested by the family and the media will be released at the appropriate time." 

Tipton had a wife and three teenage children. He and his wife owned a window-cleaning business in Fernandina Beach. He family and friends said he loved boats and riding motorcycles.

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