SAN FRANCISCO – Robert Manning and Jamare Coats were sentenced today to life in federal prison for a murder committed in a March 23, 2019, shootout in front of San Francisco’s Fillmore Heritage Center that also wounded four innocent bystanders, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge William Alsup.
Manning, 31, and Coats, 29, both of San Francisco, were each convicted by a federal jury on August 15, 2022, of murder in aid of racketeering and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. At trial, evidence showed that Manning and Coats were active members of an established criminal street gang called Mac Block. The gang operated in San Francisco’s Western Addition, and its members engaged in racketeering activities, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, drug dealing, and other crimes. Evidence at trial established that Mac Block qualified as a criminal racketeering enterprise under the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity (VICAR) statute.
The trial evidence focused on the events of the evening of March 23, 2019, outside of the Fillmore Heritage Center located in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Manning and Coats, each a prior convicted felon, were armed with firearms at the time. On a crowded sidewalk in front of the Heritage Center, Coats and an associate engaged in a shootout with the murder victim, a young man, which involved the firing of at least 24 shots. Coats and the associate, with the aid of Manning, shot and killed the victim. During the shootout, four bystanders who were not involved in the dispute were struck by bullets.
In memorandums filed for sentencing, the government detailed the evidence at trial of the murder. On the evening of the murder, Manning and Coats and other Mac Block members and associates were inside the Heritage Center where a funeral repass was occurring. The victim acted disrespectfully towards them, branding a firearm and threatening Mac Block members and associates. Manning became the most agitated in response. He, Coats, and others left the Center and hurried several blocks south to parked cars. Manning opened his car, provided the associate with a semi-automatic pistol and kept an automatic Glock firearm for himself. Coats continued to his own car parked nearby in Mac Block territory and drove it to the Heritage Center, where he parked. Manning stormed back to the front of the Heritage Center and angrily pushed towards the victim, fighting to get past peacemakers who were trying to resolve the conflict. Coats got out of his car carrying a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and approached. The peacemakers attempted to push Coats back as he pushed forward towards the victim. Coats, Manning, and the associate were able to spread out around the victim. The victim fired a shot, and Coats ducked into an alcove. The associate exchanged gunfire with the victim. The victim went to the ground, and the associate ran. Coats then began shooting at the victim. He fired four shots in quick succession at the victim, paused several seconds, then fired two more times. The six shots fired by Coats all occurred after the victim and the associate had both stopped shooting.
The victim did not survive his wounds. One uninvolved bystander who was shot in the crossfire is now paralyzed from the waist down and expected to remain so for life. Three other innocent passersby were shot. Victim impact statements illustrate that despite surviving “minor” gunshot wounds, the shooting dramatically changed lives of some passersby and those of their families.
Coats was convicted of committing a VICAR murder as a principal, and Manning was convicted of aiding and abetting the VICAR murder. For their VICAR murder convictions, each defendant faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Alsup also sentenced them to 10 years for each defendant’s felon in possession of a firearm conviction, with those sentences running concurrent to their life sentences. The defendants were in custody at their sentencing hearings and will begin to serve their sentences immediately.
The Organized Crime Strike Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Francisco Police Department.