Steak and Shake

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There’s a story that five people were murdered inside the walk-in freezer at this Steak and Shake, but so far no evidence for this has yet to be found. Still, modern employees often refuse to spend any time in or around the freezer, even in daylight.

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Geographic Information

1610 Southwest 13th Street
Gainesville, FL 32608
United States

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29.63603299999999, -82.339855
Alachua County, Florida
Nearest Towns:
Gainesville, FL (1.4 mi.)
Alachua, FL (9.5 mi.)
Micanopy, FL (9.8 mi.)
Archer, FL (13.0 mi.)
McIntosh, FL (14.7 mi.)
Waldo, FL (14.8 mi.)
La Crosse, FL (14.8 mi.)
Raleigh, FL (15.4 mi.)
Hawthorne, FL (15.5 mi.)
Newberry, FL (16.0 mi.)


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Comments (19)

  1. Don’t know if it’s haunted, but story is true.disgruntled employee came in as the morning shift was prepping for day and forced them in freezer and shot them. Not sure if it was five or not. I am sure you can verify this in the Gainesville Sun archives.

  2. so there was a murder there. 2 employees were shot to death and a third was shot point blank in the head but lived through. it all happend in 1988. I worked this store for about a year before the renovations back in 1998. and yes this place is totally haunted. there’s still to this day bullet holes in the freezer and there are allways weird happinings going on.

    • I worked at steak n shake back in 2006 on Archer rd in Gainesville. I was sent a few times to cover shifts at this other steak n shake. To confirm the bullet holes story, it is true. I felt creeped out while there. And at one point I was enlisted to take product inventory in the freezer. Not only are there bullet holes but under one if the shelves, you can still see what looks to be a blood stain. The bodies were piled in the freezer and the person who survived was at the bottom of it. That’s why she didn’t freeze to death.

  3. There was a multiple murder/shooting there in 1988. I had just moved to gainesville a few blocks from that shake and steak to go back to school. It was known as “steak and shoot” after that for a long time.

  4. I was the grave yard manager no pun intended in 2001. While doing the money in the office some how a cobbler (pie) ended up on the top shelf in dry storage. You would need a ladder for that and they were both hanging and locked on the exterior of the building. Freezer bulbs would blow everytime you would go to do food counts there are bullet holes in the main cooler and freezer that is before the remodel. and we used to have chairs move and make pyramids at times.

  5. This wasn’t even the Steak n’ Shake where it happened – that was at 3714 SW 42nd ST and it’s an empty lot, now – the one at 13th ST is newer – a completely different store.
    Want proof? GPS: 29.6200220, -82.3853920

    • I’m sorry but that is incorrect. The one on 13th st is the one it happened in. The address you gave is to the newer one over by Butler plaza. October 23, 1988. Friend of my wife’s was the survivor of the shooting.

  6. The story is very true..Such a sad tragedy I never personally work there but I worked in the Foodservice industry around the same time this happened because I lived in the town when it happened. I’ve Heard lots of different stories from people who work there after who could not handle it especially on the night shift they said some of the things that happened there were so scary they couldn’t even go near the freezer they said they would hear voices and they would see different things going on there’s even been a few customers who had told accounts of things that happened when they went into the store location ..I don’t know if it was true or not but I guess they opened very soon after all of this and there were still parts and particles of brain matter that they found for days in the freezer where the ppl where executed.Now I do not believe that is true but then again knowing the person that ran it at the time I wouldn’t be shocked if it was true. all I know is haunted or not it was a senseless tragedy but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to know it was haunted because I’ve heard many stories proving it was & is.

  7. I lived in Gville when this happened; grew up there and ate at that Steak N Shake a lot (it used to be a drive in Steak N Shake!). It sent shockwaves through the community. Such a tragedy. I haven’t been back to that restaurant since.

    • It’s so interesting how all of the details have changed. I know them well. My husband was the general manager at the time. He arrived 5 minutes after the police did. The murderer was indeed a disgruntled employee. That’s about all I’m seeing that is accurate. There were 3 people, not 5, and they were in the cooler, not the freezer. His name was Darren Sheppard and he was angry because his paycheck had not arrived on time. His time card had been set aside and it was accidentally not processed with the rest of the cards, so his check did not arrive with the rest of the employees’. It was actually there when he came lthat fateful night when he decided to come rob the place. There were 3 people
      on duty, the night manager, the cook (an older man who had a young son) and a teenage boy. The latter had left to go buy doughnuts when the incident began. He walked in, unknowingly. Darren put all of the employees into the cooler. There had been a lock recently installed on the outside to keep employees from stealing food. But, unfortunately, it also kept anyone from getting out. He told the manager to open the safe. She always had trouble opening it and when she couldn’t, Darren shot one of the others, execution style, in the cooler. She tried again, and again she failed. He shot the other. She finally got it open and then he took her back and shot her too. They were all shot on the head, but she survived. My husband was unaware of what happened when he went to work. It was the late 80s and there were no cell phones. My toddler son had knocked the phone off the hook. He soon rushed home with police cars as we were still unreachable and there was fear that Darren may have come to our home to continue his murderous revenge. This is a tragic story. Two lives were cut short, their families devastated and one life was altered forever. P

  8. My mom worked there in the 80’s, was on the shift before it happened. She said paranormal stuff happened before they tore it down, but now nothing happens. What used to be the freezer (where they were killed) is now the dishwashing area. The manager let me and my sister back to that area after we told her that story, but she said shes never seen anything paranormal there so I don’t know.

  9. I worked as a server at Steak n Shake Orlando back in 2000 and we got pulled out from there to go help in Gainesville at this store since the town was completely packed for a Gators game… The managers told us the story when we were on our way in the van so when we arrived everyone was freaked out and worried about going into the freezer, since that was sometimes part of our job… I did go in the freezer a couple of times during the day and I’ll tell you… I felt really bad in there… I actually felt really bad in that store altogether…

  10. I worked there in the early 2000s. I remember the story.
    Three people were shot and put in the freezer. Two of the three died.
    When I worked there you could see the outline of the old freezer and a new freezer built right next to it.
    This is in the back room where the employees would hang out on breaks. There was a TV back there. It would often be turned on when no one was back there.
    I remember one time I was working in the front and heard some laughing and goofing off; I wanted to go see what my friends were doing…. No one was there, and then the TV turned on right in front of me.

    So yea… it IS hunted.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.