Buffalo Jim Barrier And The Unsolved Mystery Behind His Death

Though James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier’s 2008 demise was declared unintended and sure associated to cocaine use, his household is satisfied that he was murdered by his enemies.

Steve MillerBuffalo Jim Barrier had loads of associates in Las Vegas — however he had loads of enemies, too.

To many who knew him, “Buffalo Jim” Barrier appeared invincible. Broad-shouldered with wild, black hair, Barrier was a Las Vegas legend who’d made a reputation for himself as an auto repairman, a wrestling promoter, and a buddy to the number of characters who make Vegas what it’s. When he was discovered lifeless in April 2008, the entire metropolis reeled.

But although a coroner discovered that the 55-year-old had died from cardiomyopathy — irritation of the center — after supposedly utilizing cocaine, Barrier’s 4 daughters are adamant that their father was murdered. They level to plenty of oddities surrounding his case, together with his lacking ID and money, the shifting testimony of the lady he spent his final hours with, and the all-too-clean motel room the place he died.

And then, after all, there are the letters. Before he died, Barrier obtained plenty of escalating demise threats. He had a well known, long-running feud along with his neighbor and landlord, Rick Rizzolo — who occurred to be launched from jail the day earlier than Barrier was discovered lifeless in a motel.

So was Buffalo Jim Barrier really a sufferer of foul play? His case is coming to gentle as soon as extra with a characteristic on Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries, the place the small print of this Las Vegas thriller will attain a wider viewers.

How Buffalo Jim Barrier Became A Las Vegas Legend

Born on March 22, 1953, in Cleveland, Ohio, James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier fell in love with Las Vegas at a younger age. According to Las Vegas Weekly, he first visited the town when he was 9 years previous and was so enchanted that he determined that he’d in the future return. Barrier made his method again to Vegas in 1971, and he quickly constructed a fame for himself.

Buffalo Jim At His Auto Shop

Steve MillerAn undated photograph of Buffalo Jim outdoors his auto restore store.

Starting in 1977, Barrier put his information about car restore to make use of. He started fixing automobiles from his van, then he signed a 30-year lease at a store on Industrial Road that he referred to as Allstate Auto and Marine Electric. Along the way in which, the gregarious, well-built mechanic earned his nickname — Buffalo — after a drunk vacationer from Texas quipped that he’d as soon as had intercourse with a buffalo, and Barrier may very properly be their love youngster.

But although Barrier made associates with nearly everybody he met — Las Vegas Weekly stories that his funeral was attended by a full solid of Las Vegas characters — he additionally made a major enemy within the Eighties.

The Notorious Feud Between Rick Rizzolo And Jim Barrier

Rick Rizzolo was the proprietor of Crazy Horse Too, a gents’s membership subsequent to Barrier’s auto store. Though Las Vegas Weekly claims that Barrier tried to befriend Rizzolo, a deep animosity quickly bloomed between the 2 males. The Las Vegas Review-Journal stories that Rizzolo wished Barrier to go away so he may increase his membership. Barrier wouldn’t budge.

Crazy Horse Too

RaulJusinto/FlickrRick Rizzolo, the proprietor of Crazy Horse Too, grew to become Buffalo Jim’s sworn enemy.

Over the subsequent twenty years, Barrier and Rizzolo clashed. Barrier claimed in a 2002 lawsuit, as reported by Las Vegas Weekly, that he discovered used needles and condoms on his property, had his store damaged into, and typically got here into work to search out his clients’ automobiles vandalized or towed away.

“I was afraid to leave anything at my lot because of vandalism or them towing cars away,” Barrier mentioned throughout a listening to, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It was like being under siege.”

So, Buffalo Jim Barrier fought again. With the assistance of his buddy, City Councilman Steve Miller, he launched a marketing campaign of his personal in opposition to Rizzolo, alleging that he’d witnessed drug use and beatings at Rizzolo’s membership.

With Barrier’s assist, the FBI and the IRS ultimately discovered that Rizzolo hadn’t been paying his taxes. He was discovered responsible of tax evasion and despatched to jail for a 12 months in 2007. But although his major nemesis was behind bars, Barrier began to obtain plenty of threatening letters and cellphone calls.

Death Threat Letter

Steve MillerOne of the threatening letters that Buffalo Jim Barrier obtained earlier than his demise.

He shared particulars concerning the threats with plenty of Las Vegas journalists, together with Las Vegas Weekly‘s Joshua Longobardy. On Friday, April 4, 2008, Barrier referred to as Longobardy to debate the scenario.

“They’re gonna try to do it through a woman,” Barrier instructed Longobardy, when the journalist instructed him to watch out. “Or they’re gonna try to drug me.”

Two days later, Buffalo Jim Barrier was discovered lifeless at a Motel 6. Rick Rizzolo had been launched from jail the day earlier than. So what precisely occurred to Barrier?

The Shocking Death Of Buffalo Jim Barrier

Las Vegas Weekly stories that Barrier left house round 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, and promised his daughter, Jerica, that he’d return quickly. Surveillance footage at a close-by Motel 6 captured him checking in an hour later and conversing with the clerk, seemingly in good spirits.

On Sunday, based on the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jerica and her sister Elise had been instructed that their father had died. The Las Vegas Sun stories that Barrier had been discovered face up in mattress, along with his pants round his ankles. The coroner later ascribed his demise to cardiomyopathy — irritation of the center muscle — which had maybe been introduced on by cocaine use.

But not everybody purchased that Buffalo Jim Barrier had died of pure causes.

Portrait Of Buffalo Jim Barrier

Steve MillerA portrait of Buffalo Jim Barrier.

“I believe it was a homicide,” his daughter Jennifer instructed the Las Vegas Review-Journal a number of days after Barrier’s demise. “It was a murder… from everything I’ve gathered, it looks to be a homicide.”

Many of Barrier’s associates agreed.

“Nothing is adding up here,” his lawyer and buddy, Robert Lueck, instructed the Las Vegas Sun. “It makes no sense.”

And Barrier’s confidant Miller, with whom he battled Rizzolo, darkly referenced the demise threats that Barrier had not too long ago obtained.

“He was my closest friend,” Miller instructed the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He predicted his own death on the phone Saturday.”

So, is there proof that Buffalo Jim Barrier was killed? Or was his demise, because the coroner declared, a tragic accident?

Did Someone Kill Las Vegas’ ‘Most Colorful Character’?

Buffalo Jim Barrier In His Shop

YouTubeBuffalo Jim Barrier in his auto store, the place he labored for many years regardless of harassment from his neighbor, Rick Rizzolo.

To Buffalo Jim Barrier’s 4 daughters, there are a selection of unusual issues about his demise. Las Vegas Weekly stories that Jerica and Elise rushed to the motel after listening to that their father had died and located an unsettling scene.

There had been two glasses of water on the counter — however their father solely drank bottled water. The room was clear — however Barrier was notoriously messy. The police had discovered his storage door opener — however Barrier all the time stored it within the automotive. And Barrier’s pockets was lacking most of its money and his ID.

Then, there was the matter of a girl named “Lisa.” The police discovered that Barrier had spent his final hours with Lisa, who claimed that she had left the room after Barrier had a seizure. But Barrier’s daughter, Jennifer, doesn’t purchase it. She instructed the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Lisa had modified her story a number of occasions.

“She lied,” Jennifer mentioned. “I asked why [the police] won’t make her take a lie detector test, and they said she would have to agree to it. The way this has been handled is really not fair.”

Who would have killed Barrier? To his household and associates, the plain reply is Rizzolo, who had suspected mob ties. Barrier even joked about it, quipping that his best skilled accomplishment was: “Being able to stay in business while being attacked by the mafia for 25 years.”

For now, the case into Buffalo Jim Barrier’s demise appears to be closed. But Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries is about to take a second have a look at Barrier’s story, greater than a decade after Las Vegas’ “Most Colorful Character” was discovered lifeless. The renewed consideration is probably going welcomed by his daughters, who nonetheless surprise what occurred to their father.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Jennifer Barrier instructed Las Vegas Weekly in 2008. “I can’t live without knowing what happened to my dad.”

After studying concerning the mysterious demise of Buffalo Jim Barrier in Las Vegas, see how mobster Bugsy Siegel helped put Las Vegas on the map. Or, see what classic Las Vegas was like earlier than it grew to become the “entertainment capital of the world.”

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