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Arrest made in shooting death of Jacksonville teen during apparent gang initiation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 20-year-old Jacksonville man has been accused of second-degree murder in the death of a teen who was found dead in the Hyde Park area last month.

According to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Tristan Haire was arrested last week in connection with the death of Koby Coats, 17, on Oct. 3.

On that night, Jacksonville Fire-Rescue crews went to a home on Red Robin Drive to conduct a welfare check on a man who was seen lying on the ground.

After Coats was found dead, his family asked the community for help solving the crime.

The arrest warrant from JSO suggests the killing was the result of a planned gang initiation.

According to witnesses, Coats was picked up by Haire and two others and they drove to a house on Red Robin Drive where Coats was “to be rebirthed” into a gang known as “KUTT.”

“That means that they’re going to be activated as a gang member once they have to pull off whatever they have to pull off or do whatever they have to do," said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson. “It’s kind of like being sworn in if you will.”

Coats was first supposed to fight Haire as part of the gang initiation, according to witness interviews outlined in the report.

Coats and Haire went to the back of the house and the other two witnesses heard them “getting loud,” and then a gunshot. Haire ran back out front with a gun in his hand, the witnesses said, and the three took off, according to JSO.

According to investigators, Haire admitted he’d shot Coats.

Haire then fled to Georgia, where he made further admissions of the killing, including to one person who recorded the conversation, the warrant states. In the recording, Haire said he was going to have to kill the two witnesses because they knew too much.

Haire is charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Booking photo of Tristan Haire
Booking photo of Tristan Haire (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

News4Jax spoke to Coats' mother, who says Koby didn’t want to go with Haire that night and he wanted to leave the house before they picked him up.

She said there were red flags about Haire and the others.

She also said she is relieved that an arrest has been made.


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