Lock box that stored weapon found to be unlocked, improperly stored under rear passenger seat
photo/Pickens Sheriff Book-In Photo
Eric Wade Potts
Eric Wade Potts, a 37-year-old male from Jasper Georgia has been charged for involvment in a incident in Tate where the suspect retreived a non-lethal weapon from a police vehicle while handcuffed, which resulted in bean bag rounds being shot by both the suspect and arresting officer. (See original July 18 press release below).
Pickens Sheriff's Office Press Release - Potts has been charged with:
• Aggravated Assault against a Peace Officer
• Possession of Methamphetamine
• Possession of Marijuana (less than an ounce)
It has been determined that the secure lock box located under the rear passenger seat of the patrol unit was found to be unlocked. The box is designed to be secured storage for supplies needed during patrol time. It is not the policy of the Pickens Sheriff’s Office to allow storage of weapons in the prisoner transport compartment of the patrol car. There were no live rounds of ammunition located in the container, but the deputy had stored his less lethal weapon in this compartment.
The storage of the weapon and the lack of locking the container are both under review by Internal Investigations.
During the struggle to regain the Less Lethal Shotgun, Mr. Potts fired one round of less lethal (bean bag round). Once the deputy regained control of the weapon, he fired additional bean bag rounds at the suspect. The suspect was struck once.
Following the incident, EMS responded and evaluated Mr. Potts and he was cleared to be released to the jail.
In addition to Mr. Potts, Keri Lee Lawrence, Age 42 from Canton Georgia, was also arrested during the investigation. She has been charged with Possession of Methamphetamine.
We are very grateful that this incident did not escalate to a potential deadly force encounter.
The case is still active at this time, and additional details are not currently available.
Pickens Sheriff’s Office
Pickens Sheriff’s Press Release
Earlier this morning, deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person at a business in Tate Georgia. Upon arrival, deputies encountered a male in the parking lot of the business. As they approached him, he immediately attempted to walk away. During a pat down, deputies discovered a quantity of suspected methamphetamine and needles.
After the suspect was placed in the patrol vehicle, deputies went back to gathering information related to the initial call. Deputies went back to the vehicle to check on the individual and he had maneuvered his handcuffs from behind his back to his front and had been able to get into a secure box and retrieve a less lethal shotgun loaded with bean bag rounds. The suspect aimed the weapon at the deputy and started to confront him. The deputy was able to wrestle the weapon away and the suspect began to run again. During the attempt to detain the individual, multiple bean bag rounds were fired by both the suspect and the deputy.
Following a brief foot pursuit, deputies were able to take him back into custody. A second individual that was with the suspect has also been detained to determine her involvement into the issue. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit has also responded to gather evidence and process the seen.
Additional details are not available at this time due to the active nature of the crime scene but will be released once they are available.