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Erwin man allegedly holding woman hostage in N.C. shot by officers

May 24th, 2013 4:10 pm by Brad Hicks

Erwin man allegedly holding woman hostage in N.C. shot by officers


ERWIN — An Erwin man is in the custody of Mitchell County, N.C. authorities following a Thursday hostage standoff in which the man allegedly held an Erwin woman hostage at a Mitchell County trailer park. 



The standoff ended when the subject was shot by police, according to authorities. 



According to a release from the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department, the department has taken out a warrant on John D. Hampton Jr., 32, Erwin, charging him with first-degree kidnapping. Other felony charges are pending, the release states. 



At around 10:52 a.m., Capt. Rick Wiseman with the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office ran a tag on a vehicle that came back as stolen out of Erwin, the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department said. 



This vehicle was parked at a home in the Wagonmaster Trail Park in Spruce Pine, N.C., according to authorities. The release states that Wiseman had received information Thursday morning that drugs had been delivered to the residence. 



The release from the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department states that Wiseman and other officers waited near the residence, thinking the vehicle may leave. When it did not, officers knocked on the door to the trailer but received no response. The person who lives at the residence was at a nearby trailer and, when contacted by authorities, told officials that no one should be at his residence. He unlocked the door to the mobile home and allowed officers to search the residence. 



Mitchell County officers located a man, later identified as Hampton, sitting on a bed in a back bedroom with a handgun to a female's head, according to Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street. The woman was later identified as Mercedes Potts, 22, also of Erwin. 



During a more than three-hour standoff, police learned that Hampton was wanted out of Tennessee for misdemeanor probation violation and failure to pay child support. Hampton was also wanted out of Virginia on felony probation violation charges, according to Street. 



"During the 3 1/2 hours, he constantly held a gun to the female, either to her back or head," the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department release states. "At one point he held two 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."



The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's SBI Response Team was called in to assist Mitchell County authorities, the release states. According to the release, Hampton was speaking with an SBI negotiator when a cigarette lighter was dropped. As Potts bent down to retrieve the lighter, Hampton was shot. 



"During the end, apparently a cigarette lighter was dropped and as the hostage bent to retrieve same it gave my officer the opportunity to shoot the suspect without putting the hostage at further risk," Street stated in the release. "Later when I spoke to the female, she said she thought they would shoot him at that time."



Hampton was shot in the face and taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville. Street said Hampton is in stable condition at this time and is alert and writing notes to the staff at the hospital. 



Potts stated that she had known Hampton for around three weeks, Street said. 



Street said Hampton will face his charges in North Carolina before facing charges out of any other state. 


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