Tenant Fatally Shot Landlord After Falling Behind With Rent: Prosecutors

A Tennessee man has been charged over the shooting death of his landlord after he fell behind on rent, according to prosecutors.

Robert Lee Collins III, 38, of Whitehaven, was indicted on counts of first-degree murder and of being a convicted felon with a firearm following the fatal shooting of his landlord, Ernest Hatton, last year.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a statement shared on Monday, July 25: “Witnesses said Collins had been renting a small building in the 600 block of East Shelby Drive from Ernest Hatton, but that he was many months behind in rent and had failed to maintain the property.”

The statement continued: “Investigators said that when Hatton came to the site the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2021, Collins fired multiple gunshots at him. Hatton, 50, was struck more than a dozen times and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

“Collins walked up to police at the scene and said he shot Hatton. A witness told police that Collins said before the shooting that if Hatton came to see him that he ‘had something for him.'”

The case is now being handled by Felony Asst. Susan Taylor of the District Attorney’s Vertical Team 4. Collins is being held without bond.

Newsweek has contacted the Shelby County District Sheriff’s Office for comment.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database that collects information about shootings from across the U.S., some 373 people have been fatally shot in Tennessee since January 1 this year.

There have been numerous occasions across the U.S. where confrontations between landlords and tenants have escalated to violence.

Earlier this month, a Florida landlord allegedly fatally shot his tenant following a heated argument at a get-together.

Miami-Dade police said Samuel Omar Gonzalez, 34, shot Armando Alvarez, 27, at 925 SW 125th Court at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.

During the argument Alvarez tried to apologize, but Gonzalez slapped him in front of other guests who were present, according to the Miami Herald.

Alvarez and his partner and their friends left the pool area and went inside before Gonzalez took a .40 caliber gun and allegedly confronted the tenant.

Gonzalez is then alleged to have shot Alvarez in the head and fled the area in a white BMW sedan.

Police later found and stopped the vehicle at NW 93rd Avenue and 25th Street at about 1:38 p.m. Sunday and Gonzalez was arrested without further incident.

Gonzalez was charged with one count of second-degree murder with a weapon and he is now being held without bail.

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