NWGA Scanner | February 17th, 2021

Texas fugitive who shot Whitfield County deputy sentenced to 25 years after pleading guilty

February 16, 2021 (Dalton) – Dalton Lee Potter (29) of San Patricio, Texas, entered a guilty plea this morning to the charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft by bringing stolen property into the state of Georgia, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement to serve a total of 25 years in prison. Potter was represented by Micah Gates of the Conasauga Public Defender’s Office. Potter has pending charges in Gordon County including another aggravated assault charge and pending charges in Texas. 

On September 6, 2020, Potter was driving south on Interstate 75 heading from the Chattanooga area to Florida. He was accompanied by co-defendant, Jonathan Gerald Hosmer, and was pulling a cargo trailer that had recently been stolen in Tennessee. An automated system at the weigh station in Catoosa County picked up the trailer’s tag and identified it as a stolen vehicle. That information was relayed to the Georgia State Patrol who notified the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies in Whitfield County including Deputy Chip Hackney and Adrian Gomez, were in a better position to intercept the vehicle and did so in the south end of Whitfield County. 

Upon stopping Potter’s vehicle, Deputy Hackney approached the driver’s side of the vehicle as Deputy Gomez covered the passenger side. Potter produced a handgun and attempted to point it at Deputy Hackney. Hackney struck the handgun with his flashlight and attempted to retreat to cover. Potter then fired several shots in Deputy Hackney’s direction, one of which struck Deputy Hackney in the back. Fortunately, Deputy Hackney’s ballistic vest took the impact and saved his life. 

Upon verifying that Deputy Hackney was clear, Deputy Gomez returned fire and one round fired by Deputy Gomez struck the passenger side front tire of Potter’s vehicle. Potter attempted to flee, but due to the damaged tire was not able to make it more than a mile or so before being forced off the road. Potter and Hosmer then fled on foot into a wooded area. 

Deputy Hackney and Deputy Gomez pursued in their vehicles calling for backup and found Potter’s vehicle quickly, but not before Potter and Hosmer had fled on foot. At that point, the deputies did not even know that a second person had been in the vehicle. They waited for backup to arrive including a paramedic to assess Hackney’s injuries. A subsequent search of the vehicle produced the handgun used to shoot Deputy Hackney and another weapon. A third weapon was taken by Potter as he fled and was recovered later in Gordon County. 

Hosmer was arrested two days later without incident and cooperated with authorities. Potter was arrested in September 10th after a shooting between Potter and a private citizen in Gordon County. Potter likewise cooperated and admitted that he had been the driver of the vehicle and had pointed the firearm at Deputy Hackney, although he denied any memory of actually shooting at either deputy. Potter was also identified by Deputy Hackney’s body camera. 

Potter and Hosmer were arrested quickly thanks to the cooperation of several local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies including most of the northwest Georgia sheriff’s departments and several local city police departments as well as the GSP, GBI, and Department of Corrections. The FBI and U.S. Marshalls were also involved. There were several K-9 teams involved with the actual arrest of Potter being made by U.S. Marshalls after Potter was tracked by “Buffy”, a K-9 with the Department of Corrections and her handler. 

Potter had a prior conviction for burglary from San Patricio County, Texas in 2017. He has pending charges in Gordon County for aggravated assault, aggravated battery, hijacking a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Potter will soon be transferred to the Gordon County Jail in order to address those charges. He also has pending felony charges in Texas. The District Attorney’s Office has been in touch with the Sheriff in Real County, Texas concerning Potter’s charges here and there. Once all of Potter’s Georgia charges are resolved, it is expected that the State of Texas will seek to extradite him to face their charges as well. 

Jonathan Gerald Hosmer pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and theft by bringing stolen property into the state. Under Hosmer’s plea deal, he will be banished from the Conasauga Judicial Circuit — comprised of Murray and Whitfield Counties. Additionally, he is ordered to not violate any state or federal laws and required to sign a Fourth Amendment waiver. Hosmer’s suspended sentence was five years for the theft charge, with the first two years to be served in jail without parole, and three years in jail for the possession charge, to be served consecutively.