Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Trooper Mark Hunter Coates

South Carolina Highway Patrol, South Carolina

End of Watch Friday, November 20, 1992

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Trooper Mark Hunter Coates

I find it hard to express the emotions I feel when your name comes up in a conversation. I never had the honor of meeting you, yet I feel sadness and anger every time I hear your story or watch the video. You didn't deserve that. Those who knew you speak very highly of you and it's clear that you touched many lives. People love you. We, your brothers and sisters in uniform, respect you. You sacrifice has not, and will not be forgotten. My family and I wish to thank you for your brave and honorable service to our great country. You continue to inspire, teach, and save lives. You are a hero and have earned your wings. Rest easy my brother.

Herb Fernandez
Detention Corporal
Midland County Sheriff's Office TX
Honor Guard Member

March 29, 2013

Last night I was shocked to hear that I received the award named in your honor for Troop 3 in 2012. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, whiie you are gone your memory lives on.

God Bless

L/Cpl. J.B. Cannon
South Carolina Highway Patrol

February 8, 2013

It's never mentioned, but Trooper Coates also served as a EMT and Paramedic with Lexington County EMS in the mid 80s. He was in paramedic school when I first began my career. I recall many shifts working with him as my Crew Chief. He was a great mentor, co-worker, professional and servant to the people in my career also. The day he died is also my birthday and every birthday since, he has been in my thoughts. I think he would be pleased that this incident could serve as such a powerful lesson for all of us in Public Safety as he continues to serve us all.

Captain J. Stuart Platt
Lexington County EMS

January 7, 2013

I attended the event where the cross was dedicated. The "Trooper Coates shooting" is something they always made us study in training & it's always in the back of my mind. I never thought I'd be working the same piece of interstate that it happened. Every time I pass that spot I am reminded of your bravery & dedication to duty & I am inspired to keep fighting the same fight. We all walk the same thin blue line, officers, deputies, & troopers alike & anyone who has ever put on a badge & walked out into the night has a special reverence & respect for you Mark. Semper Fi Marine.

Pfc Frank Josef Vopasek
Hardeeville Police Department

December 10, 2012

Today we will erect a cross in your honor, my K9 "Coates" and I will continue the fight in your honor for years to come. You would be proud. RIP

Cpl Steven English
South Carolina Highway Patrol

November 20, 2012

Two decades may have passed since you were called away, but those that love you dearly miss you every minute of every day. I'm sure it has been a long and rocky road for them without you here. Continue to keep watch over them and know that you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your dedicated service to law enforcement and also to your Country.

Bob Gordon
Father of Fallen Chicago Officer: Michael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04

November 19, 2012



November 12, 2012

Semper Fi

Cpl VT
Marine Corps

November 10, 2012

11/20/92 will be a day that will always be bitter/sweet for me. On this date, I graduated from the 66th Georgia State Patrol School. I remember driving home that afternoon and taking pictures of my patrol car that night. This day was one of the best days in my life but it was one of the worst days if not the worst for your family. I called your mother about 6 years ago just to tell her that I had thought about your family many times over the years. Even though I never knew you, when I spoke with your mother, it was very emotional for me. I can't explain the deep sense of loss I feel. As the anniversary of my graduation approaches, I will pause and reflect on your graduation from this world to your heavenly home. I will say a pray for your family. Hope all is well with them.

In Christ,

Lt. Clay Kicklighter, #51
Georgia State Patrol

November 3, 2012

I responded as backup for HPD, his sacrifice and video review of what occured before my arrival probably saved my life more than once.

God Bless and God Speed Warrior.


September 19, 2012

Every time I hear or see this video I get emotional. This hurts deeply as a fellow brother in blue.

Chief Roman Sanchez
Walker River Police

August 30, 2012

I watched your video earlier this year in the academy, and it brought many emotions. As a fellow Marine Corps veteran and peace officer, your death hurts that much more. I know you are watching down on all of us and I hope your family has found peace.

Catoosa County Sheriff's Office

August 26, 2012

Trooper Coates,

I remember the first time I ever saw the video from your dash cam in the academy. Thank you for serving our country with both the Marine Corp and the Highway Patrol. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten, and neither will you.

Rest in peace, brother.

Deputy L. Schwendeman #612
Washington County Sheriff's Department (OH)

June 10, 2012

Mark was an Inspiration in my life when he worked the I-26 IRMO area to the Newberry County Line. I was a Police Cadet for Irmo Police Department in the late 80s . I guess I was about 15 or 16 years old then and felt he was indestructible. I watched his every movement and tried to walk and talk like him back then. You see I had this “agreement” with him and some of the other Highway Patrolmen at the time and we would park my car on 26 and he, along with other close Highway Patrolmen would pick me up just so I could ride with them in that Highway Patrol car. I watched him as we cut the grass median to grab a speeder with a rooster tail of grass flying in the air! I would hold his hat and wait for him to say “Cover” as we pulled up behind the car and I was so proud to slide that thing out of the hat press and hand it to him I felt like I was the MAN. I watched him adjust that “Cover” and “Move with a Purpose” as he would say, walk up to that car, body bladed, uniform perfectly creased and “Squared Away” as he said, and I would just Dream of the day I could be like him. He would tell me “Keep ya eyes on him” as he stroked out that ticket and, Wow, what a mission I had, My eyes were locked on that speeder and didn’t come off until I heard the ticket book flap together and he approached the speeder again. Even then my eyes were locked on him. We had long talks of Military life, the Academy (that was nothing like the USMC) and life in general. This guy was the Best! I modeled myself after him starting with my Cadet Uniform. He told me how to drench the uniform in starch and iron with full steam when it was dry. No double creases or guess what, do it over. Shoes were to be polished by rubbing on Kiwi with your finger and heating it with the lighter then rubbed in tiny circles with a cotton t shirt and small dabs of water until it looks like glass. “Patten leather was for the Air Force” not us. This man taught me all the tricks. Then he moved on to the specialized team and I moved on with my life seeing him every so often. I became a Cop with Lexington City Police because I could not wait to get in uniform. Practiced all the things he taught me. As I progressed in my career his sayings would repeat in my head. “keep ya weapon clean kid, or it will fail I time of combat, it’s the only thing you have between you and the enemy.” I went against his advise to become a MARINE and joined the ARMY as an MP. Started a family and moved to the Charleston area. So never heard from Mark much after that. I will never forget the day I attended an Officer Survival class put on by the 100 Club. It was literally a class that effected the rest of my life. I sat in the class watching some videos with 50 0r 60 fellow officers. We watched several videos of officers being killed in the line of duty. Learned several tactics to keep us safe and be aware of. And took a small break. Upon our return the next video rolled. I saw “The Walk”, I saw “The Crisp Uniform” I saw, “The Cover”, I saw “The Man” the man who inspired my life like no other, Mark Coates. I said to my partner sitting next to me now is the time we are going to see the flipside of the Officers being down! I told my partner, as we watched the video Mark is probably going to “Open a Can” and I watched Mark as I did when I was a kid. Step By Step, Step By Step, clearly hearing his voice and thinking how I have seen him do this so many times. My anticipation peaked at the beginning of the search and my Breath was suddenly taken away. Mark didn’t appear to be winning this. He was on his back?, I said . Come on Mark, I had an Immediate adrenalin drop, Shoot Mark Shoot, when finally, thunder rang out Mark was getting him! Thank God I said, No Way this guy is taking him! Then I see the guy still moving? No way, final shot rings out, Mark Screams on the Radio and takes the last few steps I ever witnessed him take. I’m Stunned to this very day Mark. I value your teachings and pass them on to my troops now. Thanks for keeping me safe Brother. God Bless your family. Wish I was riding Shotgun with ya that day Brother! Remember what ya told me when I asked ya if you were afraid to die, while sitting at the weigh station on I-26, Marines die, that's what we're here for! But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means I live forever, I understand that now. I also figured out where ya got that saying from.

Sgt Robert Boris
Berkeley County Sheriffs Office
Selective Enforcement Team

Sgt. Robert C Boris
Berkeley County Sheriffs Office Selective Enforcement Team : Friend

November 20, 2011

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 19th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater, PPD, eow 4/24/05

November 20, 2011

I couldn't even begin to explain the feelings that I had when I first saw your death unfold. Rage! Sorrow! Helplessness? That is the one that really bothers me...although we feel that training and practice will prepare us for anything, it is important to understand that we are ALL helpless.

Former FTO M.D. Benton

October 15, 2011

We watched your vidio in class today, and I just want to say thank you for the ultimiate sacrafice you gave.Im excited to graduate and walk the thin blue line in Law WILL NOT be forgoten!!

Andrew Kooinga
Freshman in Criminal Justice

October 15, 2011

Rest in Peace Trooper Coates you bring honor and pride to your name, your family, and this job.

Rome Police Department

September 8, 2011

What an honor for my friend Mark to have a crime lab named after him! He was a wonderful guy and I will forever miss him. Rest in peace, brother.

Special Agent Bryan C. Merrill, Retired
DHS/ICE formerly USCS

June 2, 2011

Today, we had the privilege of taking part in a beautiful ceremony naming and dedicating our crime lab. The name is now Mark H. Coates Crime Lab. What an honor to see your parents and sons, side-by-side, honoring you. You've made them very proud!

The entire face of law enforcement changed as a result of your sacrifice and we thank you.

Forever in our hearts,

Janet Campbell
Criminal Justice & Criminology Student

May 17, 2011

Trooper Coates may god rest your soul. You live on during surrounding departments as they watch your incident. We watched it today as part of training and it was very sad.


April 28, 2011

Trooper Coates,
I watched your video today in the academy after years of my father telling me that he watched it and remembered it during every traffic stop when he was a Trooper. As I got teary eyed
and upset I know that you are watching over us and keeping us safe every minute of the day. You are a hero brother which will never be forgotten.


February 2, 2011

Mark, Another year has passed without you here. This week we lost a Trooper as a result of gunfire. I hope you will welcome him to the heavens. May God continue to Bless your family. Thank You again for your sacrifice.

TFC J.E. Hutcheson #756
Georgia State Patrol

December 29, 2010

Tpr. Coates,
I watched the video again of your shooting today. It always makes me remember to "watch the hands" when I make a traffic stop. Your sacrifice and dedication will never be forgotten. You still are a shining example for all of us.
God Speed.

Cpl. Larry H. McClellan Jr.
Florida Highway Patrol

December 16, 2010

Mark, you gave your live protecting others and defending justice, but it was not in vain. Thousands of officers have seen what happened to you and are reminded of the dangers of the job. Your actions and bravery that cold night will never be forgot, and most likely have saved others. Rest In Peace my friend and brother officer.

Patrolman David Prechtl
Ravenswood, West Virginia Police Dept.

November 18, 2010

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