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

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.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 4 months
  • Badge 14

Incident Details

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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 17 Reflections

It has been forty-three years since we lost Chris and a week does go by without thinking about him. I knew Chris for six years with four of them spent in college. We were part of a group of about six-seven guys that shrank to three by our last year in school. We were roommates the last two years.

I still remember the shock when my mother called me at work to tell me about his murder. It took twenty-five years before I stopped thinking about him every day.

Chris was four days older than me and I often think about the impact he would have had on our county because he was a man on a mission when he was twenty-years old. I believe he would ended up in politics or perhaps the sheriff of Kershaw County. It is a shame and our loss that his life was cut short for no reason.

Chris, it has been forty-three years and your memory still makes me cry.

Ardell Young

May 12, 2017

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