Police: Victim resisted gang

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A 38-year-old man gunned down in his Grand Junction trailer earlier this month had moments earlier been arguing with his alleged attackers and telling them he did not want to join their outlaw motorcycle club, witnesses told police.

One witness told officers that Dion Nixon was frustrated with accused shooters Richard Byrd and Rufus Billups, and that during the confrontation, Nixon drew and fired a handgun himself as his attackers opened fire and fatally wounded him, according to arresting documents recently unsealed by a Mesa County district judge.

Byrd, a 48-year-old Fruita man who prosecutors believe is the local chapter president of outlaw motorcycle club the Sin City Deciples, and Billups, 41, of Grand Junction, face first-degree murder and felony menacing charges in Nixon’s death.

Officers who responded to the shooting at a home in the trailer park at 489 28 1/4 Road about 9:15 p.m. March 15 found Nixon on the living room floor with gunshot wounds to his head and abdomen, according to affidavits for both men’s arrest. 

Nixon was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

A revolver was on the bedroom floor and a bullet lay on the kitchen table, the report said.

Nixon’s girlfriend was in the home, along with a 21-year-old man and three children. The woman, whose ex-husband police believe is affiliated with the Sin City Deciples, said shortly before the shooting she was on the phone with Billups, who was trying to convince Nixon to join the motorcycle gang, the affidavit said.

“She said she handed the phone to Dion and (he) engaged in a heated discussion with Rufus over this, advising he didn’t want anything to do with the motorcycle gang,” the affidavit said.

The woman said she called Billups back after the phone call ended and told him to “leave Dion alone.” While she was on the phone, she heard Nixon, Billups and Byrd arguing.

Another witness who was inside the trailer told police he could see Nixon on the porch arguing with other men whom he couldn’t see.

“He said (Nixon) stepped back in the front door,” the report said. “(The witness) said he heard a gunshot, then saw (Nixon) getting pissed off and saw him pull a handgun from his waistband. He said (Nixon) opened the front door and fired the gun. …. Immediately there were multiple shots fired at the residence, striking the residence and debris flying everywhere.”

From another room in the trailer, Nixon’s girlfriend was still on the phone when she heard shots and told children in the house to get down, the report said. A neighbor also reported hearing arguing in the street before several gunshots were fired, the report said.

Both Byrd and Billups were arrested the next morning without incident and remain in custody without bond.

The Sin City Deciples Motorcycle Club — which intentionally misspells its name — is considered a “one percenter” outlaw organization, according to Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Grand Junction police spokeswoman Heidi Davidson. The FBI’s 2015 National Gang Report describes the group as a primarily black gang with male-only membership.

It’s not clear how long the organization has had a presence in the Grand Valley, but the organization has ties throughout Colorado. Four members of the club were arrested and charged after the shooting death of a 31-year-old man in 2012 at the group’s Colorado Springs clubhouse, according to The Gazette in Colorado Springs.

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Gabrielle Porter
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