Angier police officer's sudden death leaves unanswered questions
Posted July 18, 2013
The death of an Angier police detective has colleagues and family members stunned and searching for answers as to why he might have taken his own life.
William Ray Coats, a 10-year veteran of the Angier Police Department, was pronounced dead Thursday morning after he shot himself Wednesday.
The 31-year-old, who leaves behind a wife and two young sons, will be laid to rest at a private burial on Saturday.
"It's a tragic situation. He was a team member. It's very upsetting," Angier Police Chief Bobby Hallman said Thursday. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family. We loved him dearly."
Coats' father, Raymond Coats, said Thursday that he is trying to understand the circumstances surrounding his son's death.
Raymond Coats said he only knows that his son resigned from the police force Wednesday and that Hallman, citing personnel laws, would not talk about the matter with him.
Tony Byrd, a neighbor, said William Coats returned home late Wednesday morning, borrowed Byrd's phone to call his wife, talked for about 10 minutes and then went to his house and shot himself.
William Coats was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and later airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he died.
The Harnett County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the case, said that detectives have no reason to believe Coats' death is anything other than a suicide.
The death has stunned Byrd and friends and colleagues.
"He loved his boys," Byrd said. "He was always in the yard playing with them. It is a sad situation."
Harnett County Assistant District Attorney Ray Pleasant, who worked with Coats closely in his former job as Angier's town attorney, said he was in disbelief when he found out about his friend Thursday morning.
"He had a good attitude about his work in all my dealings with him, and he was just a pleasure for me to work with through the years," he said.