UPDATE: Texas fugitive wanted in Georgia deputy shooting captured

Before he was arrested in Gordon County, authorities said Dalton Potter shot another man.
Dalton Potter

Credit: Whitfield County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Whitfield County Sheriff's Office

Dalton Potter

After spending nearly 72 hours on the run, a Texas fugitive accused of shooting a northwest Georgia deputy during a traffic stop was arrested Wednesday, authorities said.

Dalton Potter, 29, was taken into custody about 10:30 p.m., according to the GBI.

During a Thursday morning press conference, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood told reporters that Potter hid in a swampy area after Sunday’s violent encounter with one of his deputies.

“He must have had some survival skills to last for three days in such rough terrain,” the sheriff said.

The first break in the case came hours before the arrest, when Potter was spotted in the area of Bandy Lake and Cline roads near Resaca, just a few miles west of where officials said he shot a deputy early Monday during a traffic stop on I-75 in Whitfield County.

Chitwood said 150 local, state and federal officers from multiple agencies, along with helicopters and K-9 units, were searching for Potter when authorities stumbled upon him and took the fugitive into custody.

“Officers basically just walked up on him,” he said. “They were coming out to refresh their batteries and literally just jumped him right there on the spot.”

He was not armed at the time of the arrest, according to Chitwood.

Before Potter was captured near the Gordon-Whitfield county line, authorities learned about a home invasion in north Gordon. Potter got into a shootout with the homeowner in his backyard on Cline Road about 5 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff said. The homeowner was hit three times, the victim’s son told reporters.

According to Channel 2 Action News, the man was feeding animals in his yard when he was shot. He fell to the ground, pulled out his .40-caliber gun and returned fire, hitting the fugitive at least once, authorities said. Potter suffered a minor injury when a bullet grazed his head, Chitwood said during the Thursday morning briefing.

He told reporters the man who was attacked was flown to an Erlanger Health System location, where he is stable and expected to survive. Potter was taken to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton following his arrest, but has since been released and booked into the Whitfield County Jail, according to the sheriff.

The arrest brought an end to an intense manhunt that started late Sunday night after deputies stopped Potter and another fugitive who were hauling a stolen trailer filled with explosives on I-75, officials said. Body camera footage appears to show Potter shoot Deputy Darrell Hackney as he walked up to the window just before midnight.

The bullet struck Hackney’s ballistic vest, but he was not seriously injured, GBI Special Agent Joe Montgomery said.

Hackney and another deputy returned fire, but Potter sped away with the explosive-filled trailer in tow, crashing a short time later, the sheriff’s office said. The GBI did not provide a description of the explosives discovered in the trailer, but said the agency’s Bomb Disposal Unit would destroy them.

A second person in the vehicle, 47-year-old Jonathan Hosmer, was arrested after he was found in the woods off Henry Owens Road, authorities said.

In Twitter posts Wednesday, the GBI said both suspects were wanted in Texas on charges of larceny and theft of over $2,500.

Investigators do not know what the men planned to do with the explosives or where they were going.

“The investigation is ongoing and a lot of the questions y’all are asking, we have those same questions,” Chitwood said during Thursday’s press conference.

Hosmer is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on charges of possession of methamphetamine, bringing stolen property into the state, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to the GBI.

Potter faces multiple charges in Whitfield and Gordon counties, the state agency said. Whitfield authorities have charged him with five counts of aggravated assault and single counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during a commission of a felony, felony obstruction, theft by receiving and possession of an explosive by a convicted felon.

In Gordon County, Potter faces three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated battery, two counts of burglary, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of felony obstruction. He remains in the Whitfield County Jail.

The deputy is recovering and expected to return to work next week, the GBI said.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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