Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Naked man slain by Arundel officer had called 911 for police protection


The naked, unarmed man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Glen Burnie last month had called an emergency dispatcher from his home minutes earlier to plead for police protection, according to a recording of the 911 call.

"Please hurry up, man, somebody's trying to kill me, man," Donald E. Coates, 20, told the Anne Arundel County dispatcher in a high-pitched tone on the night of May 24. "Please hurry up. ... A lot of people are after me."

Police have said he was delusional.

Toward the end of the six-minute call, Coates, who had barricaded himself in a bathroom after ordering people out of the house at gunpoint, reports that he has a gun. Several shots can be heard.

Within 15 minutes, Coates, who had fled the Glen Burnie townhouse without the gun and removed his clothes, was shot by Officer Tommy Pleasant. Police said he had charged at the rookie policeman.

Pleasant has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.

Recordings of the 911 calls, obtained yesterday by The Sun, reveal that Coates and his girlfriend's mother both called emergency dispatchers after he reportedly took a call from a friend in jail and became upset. He shared the Allen Road townhouse with his girlfriend, his 1-month-old son and at least three others.

Coates told the emergency dispatcher that he feared "Cherry Hill people" were going to kill him - he had previously lived in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore - and that these people were in the house.

Then he can be heard yelling: "I have a gun and I will start shooting. I will start shooting, do you hear me? Come here if you want to!"

Coates then fired six shots through the bathroom door and into the upper stairwell wall, police said.

"Hurry up, sir," he repeatedly screamed at the dispatcher. Then the call cut off.

While Coates spoke with one dispatcher, a woman who had fled from Coates' home spoke with a different 911 operator.

"He's in the house with my daughter. ... He came out and loaded the gun and pointed it at everyone and told them to get the [expletive] out," the woman said. Police did not release the woman's name, but they have said that the mother of his girlfriend, Chelsia Wallace, called 911.

The woman also said on the tape that Coates had been using drugs.

"He smoked marijuana - I don't know what else," she said. That call ended when police officers arrived on the scene.

Wallace, who was outside the bathroom while Coates was talking to the emergency dispatcher but left before shots were fired, has said that there were no threatening people at the house.

After Coates jumped from a window and fled, Pleasant saw a naked man hiding behind a utility box at 6:47 p.m. The officer drew his gun and told the man to come out, police said, and that is when Coates charged at the officer from 30 yards away. Pleasant fired four shots, said police, who declined to say how many struck Coates.

Anne Arundel County police and the Montgomery County state's attorney's office declined comment on the 911 calls.

Sun staff writer Phillip McGowan contributed to this article.

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