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Sep 26, 2022

American National, Nightclub Owner Killed in San Ignacio

Jeffrey Coats

An American national is the latest victim of a murder which occurred out west in San Ignacio. Details as to why Jeffrey Coats was shot as many as nine times outside a nightclub he owned on Wyatt Street is unknown at this time, but there are several persons detained for questioning, since the incident occurred in the wee small hours of Sunday. Coats, his common-law wife, and members of staff were retiring from the workplace when he was targeted by gunmen who wore helmets. During the incident the businessman was robbed of a bag which was later recovered with all its items.  But some are sceptical about whether robbery was the motive of the crime. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Four days after a Belize City resident was stabbed to death in San Ignacio, an American national and proprietor of Replay Nightclub was shot and killed in the twin towns of San Ignacio/Santa Elena.  Jeffrey Allen Coats was leaving his nightclub at the Manzanero building on Wyatt Street near the Cayo Welcome Center when he was targeted by two gunmen.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“Police arrived on a scene at Replay Nightclub sometime after three a.m. where they saw Mister Coats in a parking lot located across the street from his club. Next to him was a ninja bike, a motor bike. We know that Mister Coats left the club after securing his building and he drove to the motorbike to an area almost in front of the establishment to pick up his common-law wife when he was attacked by two men who were on motorbike also.”


While in the area today, News Five gathered that the gunmen waylaid Coats by hiding behind a vehicle that was parked in proximity to the nightclub. The forty-two-year-old was shot as many as nine times before the gunmen escaped from the area on a motorcycle.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“These men drove off after firing several shots at Mister Coats, leaving him fatally injured. Police officers transported Mister Coats to the San Ignacio Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead sometime around 3:25 a.m. We have canvassed that area, we are receiving cooperation in this investigation and hopefully we will be able to make an arrest. Yes we have persons detained, but that’s as far as it goes right now for this investigation.”


It would appear to have been an execution. But who would have wanted Coats dead and why? On September seventeenth, Coats took to his Facebook page to recount helping a bleeding man out of his establishment and calling out those responsible for the alleged “gang drama” as being disrespectful to his staff, friends and their own families.  There are also reports of an alleged conflict between competing nightclubs in the area. And then information suggests that he was robbed. Assistant Superintendent of Police Fitzroy Yearwood says that police are looking at all angles.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“We are not ruling out robbery because a black bag that he was carrying was taken away and later found by a citizen who turned it over to police, still containing his cell phone. We have also been informed that he doesn’t usually move around with cash on him so, like I said, we have persons that we are questioning and hopefully after our investigators have spoken to some key suspects, then we will know what was the motive.”


There has been an outpour of condolences for the businessman, who was well-known in the west. He had been living in Belize before the pandemic and is described as being a friendly, outgoing and down-to-earth person and entrepreneur who has been helping in the community. Mayor Earl Trapp says that just two months ago, he met with a number of entrepreneurs and Coats was one of them.


Earl Trapp

Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“He came and he sought permission to run a business in the downtown area. I know he had engaged the different sectors of the community in terms of job creation because I can recall that one of my sons was part of the painting, the murals that he has outside and inside. There was a setback because of COVID so he was dormant for two years. In between, we always spoke and he was awaiting the passing of COVID so that he could venture into his business and his dreams. I know he was here about two months ago. We had a meeting with the different businesses downtown as well as my council members and we were discussing what the council can do to support them since post-COVID, they are preparing to bounce back. He was a very nice person, very kind, outgoing, caring sharing. And like I said, he was a part of the upliftment of the basketball court in the Shawville area where he resided.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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