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Highway Patrol confirms fatal officer-involved shooting in Columbia; suspect identified

The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control is now investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened in Columbia Saturday evening.

Columbia police and Boone County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a man threatening people with a gun and firing shots on the 100 block of Oak Street just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Highway Patrol identified the man Sunday as Clarence E. Coats Jr., 41, of Columbia.

Authorities said Coats fired several shots at police and deputies when they arrived at the scene. He then fled on foot and climbed onto a rooftop of a building in the 600 block of Garth Avenue where police said he fired more shots at officers.

A CPD officer returned fire, hitting Coats. He was taken to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday, said Sgt. Scott White, with the highway patrol.

White said a deputy suffered minor injuries, but no one else was hurt.

ABC 17 News was able to speak with Coats Jrs’ sister, who said Coats was struggling with a mental illness that made him act out and that he didn’t have any premeditated hate towards law enforcement.

Although the family wishes the incident ended differently, the family isn’t upset with police.

White told ABC 17 News on the phone that it could be months until we know more details, due to the nature of the investigation.

As of right now it’s unknown how many shots were fired in total, or what kind of gun was used. Family members say he was using a deer rifle.

Bryana Larimer, Columbia Police Department public information officer, told ABC 17 News the department policy is to place the officer involved in the shooting on administration leave until the investigation is over.

Larimer said police did attempt to negotiate with Coats to try and calm the situation down.

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