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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mississippi man charged on suspicion of murdering boss in Gainesville Airbnb

James Tate had a “wild idea” to shoot his co-workers, he said

A Mississippi man was booked into the Alachua County Jail Friday morning after he allegedly killed his boss and attempted to shoot his co-worker while on a work trip in Gainesville.

James Tate, 28, was arrested Jan. 11 on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and grand theft auto. He was held at the Columbia County Jail before being transported back to Alachua County Friday.

Tate, his boss and his co-worker traveled from Mississippi to Gainesville for a demolition project. They stayed in an Airbnb located at 4720 NW 16th Place, according to the arrest report.

Tate told detectives he had a “wild idea” while lying in bed, before retrieving a bag from his boss’s truck that contained a handgun and cash.

He entered the house and kicked in the door to his boss’s bedroom, who got out of bed armed with a handgun. Tate fatally shot his boss multiple times, according to the arrest report.

Tate then tried to enter his co-worker’s bedroom, but found the door was locked. In response, Tate shot through the door multiple times. His co-worker escaped through a window and suffered multiple lacerations.

Tate stole the keys to his boss’s truck and fled the scene, leading officers from the Gainesville Police Department and deputies from Alachua County and Columbia County on a high-speed chase along I-75. 

Tate’s vehicle lost control and crashed into a Honda Accord after striking stop sticks laid out by Columbia County deputies, according to the arrest report.

Tate admitted wrongdoing and told detectives he did not know why he did it, but said he just “lost [his] sh-t.” A few days before the crime, he ran out of fentanyl and had been sick since then, according to the arrest report.

He planned to flee to New Orleans after the shooting, where he would buy more “dope” and kill himself. 

Tate also received a criminal traffic infraction by the Florida Highway Patrol for leaving the scene of a crash, which caused $2,000 of damage to the Honda Accord, according to court records. 

Contact Daniel Bednar at dbednar@alligator.org. Follow him on X @Danielbednar5.

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Daniel Bednar

Daniel Bednar is a first-year political science major and the Criminal Justice reporter for The Alligator. When he's not writing, you can find him scuba diving in the Keys or flying airplanes. 


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