Deputy Sheriff Ernest Christian Potter, III

Deputy Sheriff Ernest Christian Potter, III

Kershaw County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, February 21, 1974

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Ernest Christian Potter, III

Deputy Sheriff Ernest Potter was shot and killed when he and his partner stopped to investigate two men who were hitchhiking on I-20. As the deputies stepped out of their patrol car, a third suspect surprised them from behind a guardrail and held them at gunpoint.

The three suspects walked the two deputies down an embankment, where they opened fire on both deputies. Deputy Potter was struck in the head several times and killed. The other deputy was shot in the head and seriously wounded.

The three suspects had murdered Patrolman Richey Finch of the Forest Acres Police Department when Patrolman Finch stopped their vehicle several hours earlier. The shooter was sentenced to life plus 99 years. As of 2020, he was still in prison.

Deputy Potter was survived by his expectant wife and son. In 1997 his son became a Richland County Deputy.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 4 months
  • Badge 14

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

ambush, suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

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Chris, it has been 49 years today that we lost you. Mike and I still remember you and talk of you often.

Ardell Young

February 21, 2023

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