Prosecutor won't file charges in deadly police-involved shooting

2 years 4 months 34 minutes ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 10:12:00 AM CST December 08, 2017 in Top Stories
By: Kristen Reesor, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
loading

COLUMBIA - A letter from the Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney gives new insight into the state of mind behind a man who repeatedly shot at people and was subsequently shot and killed by an officer.

Chris Wilson was appointed as special prosecutor to review the investigation into the officer-involved death of Clarence Coats in May.

KOMU 8 News previously reported that Coats was walking around Columbia firing a gun before he got on a rooftop on Garth Avenue. From there, he continued to shoot at officers before an officer fatally shot him.

After months of review, Wilson decided not to file any criminal charges against the officer who killed Coats.

On Friday, KOMU 8 News received a copy of a letter Wilson sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Columbia Police Department and the attorney for Coats' family. The letter explained Wilson's decision that the officer acted within the law.

Wilson said in the letter that several people he interviewed told him Coats had recently used methamphetamine prior to the shooting. Wilson also said information he received indicated Coats was upset over a breakup and was arguing with family members when he armed himself.

Witnesses say Coats' family was not able to calm him down or get him to stop shooting. When law enforcement arrived, Coats fired at them. Wilson said shotgun pellets hit a sheriff's deputy in the upper arm. One officer also appeared to have been hit in the foot by shotgun pellets or debris.

In his letter, Wilson described how multiple law enforcement units tried to talk Coats into surrendering. He also said reports suggest the officer who killed Coats "had a clear shot for a period of time," but did not shoot until Coats pointed his gun at an uninvolved civilian who had just got of his car in a parking lot. The officer then fired at Coats, striking him in the chest and killing him.

"Undoubtedly, Coats was a threat to every person and law enforcement officer in the area," Wilson wrote.

After Coats' death, toxicology reports confirmed his body did contain methamphetamine.

The family's defense attorney said they still have some questions.

"There definitely are some red flags," Attorney David Tyson Smith said. "Their son was killed and they only had one version of events and that was from the police department and they were the ones that killed him. So obviously they want to look into some things and they have some questions and so we're combing through everything to make sure that everything is accurate."

Coats' sister said they believe other actions could've been taken that day.

"We as a family are taking it one step at a time," Monique Coats said. "My mother, my father and I believe there could've been a different end to that day and from that perspective, we are doing everything that we possibly can within our spiritual."

Smith said they will continue to work and explore the civil remedies of the case. 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
BOONVILLE - The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel in Boonville has temporarily shut down business operations and implemented furloughs... More >>
16 minutes ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:04:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The road to recovery from addiction can be hard. Now COVID-19 is bringing more challenges to those fighting... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 4:20:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Parson is continuing to address the daily changes happening in Missouri due to COVID-19. On... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 3:45:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - City and county officials gave an update on COVID-19 on Wednesday during a virtual press conference. Columbia... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 3:38:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department has made changes to its day-to-day operations since the "Stay Home Order" went into... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 1:52:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Roots N Blues Festival mourned the loss of famed sing-songwriter John Prine, who died Tuesday due to... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 1:11:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A 16-year-old was arrested on charges of 2nd degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 11:51:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have returned to the state Capitol to work on an emergency coronavirus funding bill.... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 11:17:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders, who saw his once strong lead in the Democratic primary evaporate as the party’s establishment... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 10:43:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 10:31:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Anthony B. used to get to his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings early enough to set up the folding chairs... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 9:29:13 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
JEFFERSON CITY - A teenage boy has died after a single car crash in Jefferson City on Tuesday. The... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:57:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A woman has been taken to hospital after a motorcycle crash on Tuesday night. The 36-year-old woman... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 4:23:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with Dr. Christelle Ilboudo about recovering from COVID-19 and when it's safe for people with... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 7:53:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
ASHLAND – Thanks to a community grassroots effort, dozens of local medical workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:55:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Essential workers are continuing to change their usual routines in order to keep people safe during the... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:00:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Documents show the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department is looking for a facility to contract... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 5:58:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 87°
6pm 81°
7pm 71°
8pm 65°
9pm 62°