18-year-old in officer-involved shooting arrested again days after release

James Barber now facing attempted homicide, attempted armed robbery charges


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Days after he was released on bail, an 18-year-old charged in connection with an officer-involved shooting and police chase in February was arrested again after he was accused of shooting at someone during an attempted robbery, Gainesville police said.

James Vincent Barber of Riviera Beach was charged in February with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, tampering with evidence, two counts of resisting arrest without violence and driving without a valid license.

He was given a bond of $15,000 and posted bail March 3, police said.

Three days after his release, Barber was arrested again, this time on charges of attempted homicide and attempted armed robbery.

According to Gainesville police, officers responded Sunday to a report of shots fired at the Gardenia Garden Apartments on NE 8th Avenue. The officers found an empty vehicle with a bullet hole in the back window, and two victims told officers that after giving a couple men a ride to the complex, one of the men, later identified as Barber, tried to rob them at gunpoint.

The victims said that when Barber was unsuccessful in the robbery attempt, he started shooting into the vehicle.

The victims identified Barber in a photo lineup, and police found out the next day where Barber was and arrested him without incident.

Police said Barber's gun, which was reported stolen in a car burglary Friday, was also found.

Barber's initial arrest last month came after an officer-involved shooting, two police chases and a manhunt that followed a 911 call warning of a possible retaliation shooting. No one was injured in the officer-involved shooting.

According to police, a 911 call offered a tip that people involved in a shooting in Alachua County were planning a retaliation shooting at T.B. McPherson Park.

The caller reported information to GPD about a white Nissan that the suspects were driving toward SE 15th Street, and officers responded to the area to look for the vehicle.

A white Nissan turned into the Woodland Park complex on SE 4th Street, and after the driver saw a stationary GPD police car, the Nissan accelerated and sped away before the patrol car initiated a traffic stop, police said.

GPD officers caught up to the vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver of the Nissan continued speeding away for a short distance before stopping in the rear of the complex, police said.

The male driver, later identified as Barber, got out of the vehicle holding a handgun and turned to face the GPD officer who was conducting the traffic stop, according to police. The officer fired two shots at Barber, but did not strike him, and Barber ran off on foot, police said.

A .40-caliber handgun magazine loaded with ammunition was found in Barber's flight path, and an intense search involving multiple officers, K-9s and the Joint Aviation Unit helicopter began, police said. Officers developed information about an hour later that led them to find Barber at T.B. McPherson Park, police said.

Barber ran off again and entered another vehicle, which drove away from the park at a high rate of speed, police said.

GPD officers stopped the second vehicle on SE 41st Avenue and Barber was found in that vehicle and taken into custody without incident, police said. He was found to have no injuries. A passenger in the Nissan at the original traffic stop also ran off on foot and has not been identified, police said.

According to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the shooting that sparked the possible retaliation was at AllStar Sports Bar during a large fight. Deputies said a man showed up at UF Health Shands in Gainesville early Saturday morning with a gunshot wound to the back.

Police are working to find out who else was at the bar and why the 911 caller believed that Barber planned to retaliate.