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Monday, January 28, 2008

[MD] Sgt. Tora Lee Coates shoots unnamed fiance, then kills herself

Where is the information on the murder victim?

Police: Officer Shot Man, Herself
January 28, 2008
Authorities on Monday continued to investigate what they believe is an attempted murder-suicide involving a Prince George's police officer. Police said 38-year-old Officer Tora Coates shot the man she lived with inside their Waldorf home at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Detectives believe she then turned the gun on herself. The 45-year-old man was able to call police despite being shot several times. He is listed in critical condition. Coates was pronounced dead at the scene. Coates worked in the department's internal affairs unit and had previously served as a spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Police Department. She was not on duty at the time of the shooting.
Off-Duty Officer Suspected in Attempted Murder-Suicide
January 28, 2008 - Waldorf, Md.
[Excerpts] ...The Charles County Sheriff's Office says the officer, 38-year-old Tora Lynn Coates, apparently shot the man and then shot herself. Investigators believe the two lived at the home together. The 45-year-old man is in critical condition at a hospital... "He was laying outside the door, part of his body inside and the other part out," said neighbor Vickie Murphy... Neighbors say there had been no previous signs of problems with the couple. "I just seen them Friday, both of them getting into their truck," recalled Murphy. "And we waved to each other and I was just saying, 'They look like such a loving couple' and then this"...

3 Shots and he's still alive!
Prince Georges County Cop Shoots Man, Kills Self

St. Mary's Today Online
January 27, 2008
[Excerpts] Charles County Sheriff's Maj. Joe Montminy reports to ST. MARY'S TODAY that a shooting at the home of a Prince George's County police officer was domestic related and that the person who the officer attempted to kill with a gun was still alive but the officer took her own life... First reports were that the officer shot the man in the posterior, the hip and the shoulder... Sgt. Tora Coates was the sister of former Calvert County Sheriff Vonzell Ward and had been a spokeswoman for PG police and most recently was assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit for professional responsibility. She was well regarded in police circles as being a top officer, according to FOP President Rodney Bartlett.


  1. I am the victim of this incident. I am recovering. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her. Just like that, I was homeless and alone, in rehab. I think about what a waste, she was a very beautiful person, inside and out. How this could have been prevented if the dept would have done their job. About 3 years ago, we had a fallen out in our relationship. She was telling me how she was going to take her life then. I called her supervisor and ask them to send someone over to check on her and told him what was going on. All the officer are afraid to get help because if they lose their guns, they lose their jobs, so he swept it under the carpet. Because of that, she is gone.

    I should have been happily married by now in our beautiful home and with our little dog and a cat, enjoying life. But she is gone, I'm alone, missing her everyday.

    Shame on her Dept., they took my wife and my life away from me.

  2. I am so glad that you are alive and I cannot TELL you how much it means to me to hear from you. I have tears in my eyes. I spent many hours over many days looking for what you just said - what I thought had very likely happened.

    Part of the problem in MOST of these lethal incidents is that there WAS a point along the way, that if paid attention to and acted upon, could have possibly averted the loss of life.

    The process has to change.

    It's why I push for pd's to have a specific dv policy to follow - instead of winging it and letting the deaths of officers and those personally close to them continue.
    I am so sorry not only for your loss but for what you have been through. Your recollections, and all of the "what if's" you live with.

    You shouldn't have had to try harder. It should have just been acknowledged and acted upon.
    There are so many bodies under that blue rug. I'm sorry that it's a part of your life.

    I have to say that the ONLY thing that I have seen change policy in these officer-involved cases are lawsuits. They understand money.

    Everything else seems to be write-off... like
    "another one bites the dust."

    is the word that shakes them.

    I wish it wasn't that way
    but it is.

    Just a shared thought.

    God bless you and help you to reclaim your life.


  3. Can I post your words as a separate, new blog entry?

  4. Yes, please feel free to use my words as a separate, new blog entry. Anything that will get the word out that the Police dept. have to take care of there on.

    I am a retired Marine, I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and never got shot. I never expected to be shot by fiance.

    Now, everyday I am reminded of the incident. Not just from the scares from the gun shots, but mainly from the wheel chair that I have to get in everyday. The incident has left me paralyzed from the bottom of my chest down.

    I do not blame her, I miss her everyday. But I blame her dept. I had warned the dept. that she might have problems that they need address. She was so well liked by her superiors that they felt that the incident needed to be pushed under the carpet so not to tarnish and end her career.

    The issue here is that the officers jobs have them dealing with the criminal element everyday, afterwards they have to go home and try to live a normal life. Their jobs can be stressful and sometime it is hard for them to deal with this kind of stress, but yet, there is no place for them to turn to. They are afraid that if they seek help, their careers are over.

    The dept. need to have annual evaluation of their officer, a fitness for duty evaluation. Officers should have the right to receive and seek treatment without the fear of losing their jobs.

    Like I had mention in my previous post, Tora's biggest fear was losing the ability to carry her gun because she felt that it would end her career.

    This incident of mine should have never happened. My lawyer and I would appreciate your post and suggestion on how we can stop these things from happening again.

    With respect to my fiance, please correct her name, it is Tora Lee Coates.

    Thank you

  5. No, thank YOU. I left Tora's name the way it was in the articles, but changed the name from Lynn to Lee in this post title and in the next one.

    Here is what I posted today:

    [MD] From the paralyzed fiance of Sgt Tora Lee Coates - http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/2008/11/md-from-paralyzed-fiance-of-sgt-tora.html

  6. February NEWS

    [MD] Prince George Police Sgt. Tora Lynn Coates' former boyfriend is suing the county for $20 million, saying that her supervisors should have prevented the attack. Attorneys for 48-year-old Billy Peoples, of White Plains, said Prince George's County police brass should have known that his fiancee, Sgt. Tora Lynn Coates, was suicidal, a danger to the public and unfit to be a police officer. Three years ago, Coates killed herself and critically wounded Peoples by gunfire in what detectives determined was an attempted murder and suicide... According to a Nov. 18, 2008 post on the Web site Behind the Blue Wall, a man who identified himself as Coates' fiance said the shooting left him partially paralyzed. "I do not blame her, I miss her everyday. But I blame her [department]. I had warned the [department] that she might have problems that they need [to] address," the writer said. "She was so well liked by her superiors that they felt that [it] needed to be pushed under the carpet so not to tarnish and end her career"... [Full article here]

  7. Praying for you Mr. Peoples. Your hardship seems impossible to bear and I sincerely THANK YOU for not giving up. You are an inspiration, as you continue to live and turn a devastating tragedy into victory. May you be successful in helping/ forcing law enforcement to get serious about truly protecting each other in the best way possible. Stay strong!


Please post updates or email them to behindthebluewall@gmail.com. No cop-hating or victim-hating comments allowed. Word verification had to be added due to spam attacks on this blog.