Why Some People Think This Las Vegas Icon Was Murdered

Despite his taste for debauchery, “Buffalo Jim” Barrier was also known for his kindness, generosity, and many friends. He did, however, have one significant enemy. As reported by Newsweek, Rick Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too strip club, and Barrier had fought for many years, often taking one another to court due to disagreements about the placement of Barrier’s auto repair shop and parking spaces in relation to Rizzolo’s expansion plans. In 2002, Barrier claimed Rizzolo was responsible for several cars at his shop getting vandalized and filed a complaint against him. Four years later, Barrier worked with the FBI in their investigation of the Crazy Horse Too for tax evasion; authorities also suspected Rizzolo’s club of having links to organized crime. Rizzolo ended up being sentenced to a year and a day of prison time in 2007. 

On the morning of April 6, 2008, Barrier was found dead in a Motel 6 on Boulder Highway, Las Vegas, at the age of 55. His pants were around his ankles and an empty bottle of Valium lay nearby. An autopsy found cocaine in his system and a coroner declared that to be a contributing factor in his death from dilated cardiomyopathy, or inflamed heart muscles, ruling the death accidental. However, Barrier’s family believes he was actually murdered and points to several suspicious factors surrounding his death. According to the Las Vegas Sun, authorities investigating the death of “Buffalo Jim” Barrier spoke with an unidentified woman who had been with him in the Motel 6 room the night before his death.