Mitchell Sheriff's Department - Hostage Press Release



On May 23, 2013 at 10:52am Captain Rick Wiseman with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office ran a tag number into our communication center and the tag on the vehicle came back to a stolen vehicle out of Erwin Tennessee.
The vehicle was parked at a trailer in Wagonmaster Trailer Park located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Captain Wiseman had received earlier that morning information of drugs that had been delivered to that residence.
Captain Wiseman at that point had other officers and he to locate in the area thinking the vehicle may leave in a short time. After waiting about 45 minutes and the vehicle not leaving he decided to go to the residence. Upon knocking at the door and no one coming to the door. Officers then contacted the person by phone that lived at the residence.  He was at another trailer near his. He came to the scene and told officers that no one should be at his residence. He unlocked the door to the mobile home and allowed officers in to search same.
Officers then located a male subject later indentified has John D. Hampton Jr. Dob of 08-03-1980. Hampton was sitting on a bed in a back bedroom with a handgun to a female’s head. The female was later identified as Mercedes Potts; both of Erwin Tennessee. Potts DOB is 10-19-1990.
During the standoff that lasted almost 3 ½ hours.  We were able to determine that Hampton was wanted out of Tennessee for misdemeanor Probation violation and child support. He was also wanted out of Virginia for felony probation charges. 
During the 3 ½ hours he constantly held a gun to the female either to her back or head. At one point he held 2 guns to the female. We were able to get him food, drinks and a lighter. During the standoff he made cell phone calls and allowed the female to call her parents.
During the standoff we had the assistance of the SBI Special Response Team and at the time of the shooting a SBI negotiator was talking to him. During the end apparently a cigarette lighter was dropped and has the hostage bend to retrieve same it gave my officer the opportunity to shoot the suspect without putting the hostage at further risk. Later when I spoke to the female she said she thought they would shoot him at that time.
The officer shot Hampton in the face. Hampton is at this time in Mission Hospital in Asheville.  He is in stable condition. He is alert and writing notes to the staff at the hospital.Potts stated that she had knew Hampton for about 3 weeks. We have at this time have taken a warrant on Hampton for 1st Degree Kidnapping, with other felony charges pending.  
Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street

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