ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Police tell us that in late February, a Carter County, Tennessee man threatened to shoot a deputy sheriff if he ever saw him again.
The comment was made via Facebook on WCYB.com in response to a story about 20 drug-related indictments handed down in Bristol, Virginia around February 26.
A police report obtained from the Carter County Sheriff's Office says Dustin Caleb Potter wrote:
"I'm still getting followed around and if I catch that pig that was goin thru my baby mamas trash like a ful stick i got that ak47 n i will touchem up."
A WCYB employee informed the Bristol, Virginia Police Department of the post, and they took things from there. "We had an alias of a person in Bristol that used that name," said Bristol police officer Major Sean Carrigan. "So we thought we had someone local. We did some digging first here, and then when we realized that Dustin Potter was a resident of the Carter County area. We contacted the Elizabethton Police Department and the Carter County Sheriff's Office to make them aware that we had viewed what we considered a credible threat to harm a law enforcement officer."
Dustin Potter had used his personal Facebook account to make the alleged threat, and Bristol police matched his profile picture to a mug shot from a previous incident -- Potter had been arrested in Carter County on February 13 on charges of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture.
Potter was located at a Zoomer's gas station less than a mile from the Carter County Sheriff's Office just after 3 a.m. in mid-March.
"We don't tolerate any kind of threat or harassment from anybody towards an officer here at the sheriffs department," said Carter County officer Sgt. Derrick Hamm. "We're just not going to tolerate it." Sgt. Hamm was in on Potter's arrest, as was the deputy Potter threatened.
Both the Bristol Police and Carter County Sheriff's Office tell us they take this kind of thing very seriously, and even though the threat was made online neither department was going to waste time. "The threat he made is actually considered a deadly threat," Hamm said. "In his words, he stated he was going to shoot my officer."
The officer who arrested Potter had ended up at Potter's girlfriend's house days earlier investigating a report of smoke in a trash can. That incident, we're told, may have led to the threat.
Potter is in jail on a $50,000 bond. He's charged with retaliation for past action, a Class E felony. He could face up to three years in jail.