Eddie Tate, a 51-year-old homeless man from Tennessee, spent his entire life battling substance addiction. He had been a hyperactive infant, and his father had a habit of putting alcohol in his bottle so he would go to sleep. As an adult, Eddie moved to San Francisco, where he was incarcerated from time to time.
By 2016, Eddie lived on the streets of Mission District in a large wooden box he had constructed himself. It had four wheels and a generator attached. There was a wide-screen TV inside, which Eddie used to play video games. He also owned an array of tools and worked as a handyman.
Due to San Francisco’s constant encampment sweeps, Eddie was forced to move his shelter several times. He spoke to a reporter before one of the clean-ups,
“As long as I have my tools and my home, I’ll be fine. If the cops leave us alone, we’ll just stay out of their way and try to help the other people around here. We’re a community.”
Eddie, known as Tennessee in his community, was often described as kind-hearted. His friend Jim said he would “give you the shirt off his back” and recalled how Eddie gave him a sleeping bag after he lost everything in a sweep.
27-year-old Lindsay McCollum had grown up in a middle-class family in Patterson, California. She was a gifted piano player and avid reader who loved animals.
Lindsay’s life turned upside down after a car crash at age 19. She was prescribed OxyContin and later developed an addiction to heroin. Lindsay tried to get clean several times but was still struggling and had been living on the San Francisco streets for three years. At some point, she met Tennessee and moved in with him.
Though most news reports claim the two were in a relationship, Lindsay’s mother, Carrie, has stated otherwise,
“Tennessee was not her boyfriend, and I expect she found her way to him because he was a nice guy and loved by many people. He was a safe guy, and had a flat-screen TV in his box. Lindsay had a tendency to seek out the best situation she could find out there.”
Around 8:45 PM on December 18, 2016, a woman working for a ride-hailing service pulled over at a 76 gas station on 16th Street. She heard a muffled bang, and a few moments later, she saw a woman walking towards her “like a zombie,”
“She was half stumbling. She was making very strange movements and didn’t look right. Then I noticed blood on her hair and face.”
The witness realized Lindsay had been shot and called 911 as she watched the wounded woman rip her clothes off and get into a fetal position. Lindsay rocked back and forth until she began convulsing and hit her head on the pavement.
Paramedics pronounced Lindsay dead at the scene. Her beloved pitbull, Lily, was covered in blood but stayed by her side the entire time.
Meanwhile, Eddie was found shot on the sidewalk next to his box. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died soon after.
According to witnesses, two men broke into the wooden box and shot Eddie and Lindsay several times. The shelter was parked on the corner of 16th and Shotwell Streets, where an encampment had been established a few weeks before for dozens of recently displaced people.
A sketch of one person of interest was released in 2021, but no one has ever been arrested for the murd*ers.
Investigators do not believe the crime was random. Last year, police upped the reward for information leading to the arrest of the k*iller to $100,000.
Bobby Waller, who heard the gunshots from his tent, remembered the victims,
“The two of them were cool, wouldn’t get in your face. Tennessee was no joke, you didn’t mess with him. He was very intelligent. And her — she was very pretty and nice. She always dressed good, and the first time I saw her, she looked so good I didn’t think she was homeless.”
Lindsay’s younger sister adopted Lily. Carrie has tried to keep the case alive and anxiously awaits the day her daughter and Eddie’s kil*ler is brought to justice,
“This person is going to the beach, which my daughter can’t; maybe driving a car, which my daughter can’t. I don’t want them to die. Just to go to jail for the rest of their lives.”