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Deadly force justified in Montgomery County shooting, special prosecutor says

A special prosecutor appointed to investigate the use of deadly force by a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy in December released his findings Tuesday, calling the acts “justifiable and appropriate.”

On December 30, 2009, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Collins shot and killed Michael Potts, of Christiansburg following a police chase and a stand-off during which Potts threatened his young daughter, who was in the vehicle with him.  Tuesday afternoon, Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Bowers, who was appointed as special prosecutor in the investigation, released his findings.

“Based upon a review of all the evidence available to me, I am of the opinion that Deputy Sheriff Joseph Collins’ use of deadly force was justifiable and appropriate in that he possessed a reasonable belief that [Pott’s daughter] was in imminent danger of death or serious injury based on the actions and statements of Michael Potts,” Bowers statement reads. “ In addition, use of deadly force also was justified and appropriate in that the law enforcement officers behind the truck, including Deputy Collins lying in a prone position approximately 38-feet behind Potts’ truck, were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured, especially considering that Michael Potts had repeatedly rammed occupied police and civilian vehicles and had attempted to run over two pedestrians back at 530 Ellett Rd.”

“Therefore, I find no basis for any criminal charges involving the actions of Deputy Sheriff Joseph Y. Collins or any other law enforcement officers on the scene on Ellett Rd. on December 30, 2009,” the statement continues.  “This will conclude the matter from a criminal perspective.”

The December 2009 incident began when Potts removed his daughter from her home without authorization, leading to a 911 call from the child’s mother.

Bowers’ findings state toxicology reports indicted Potts was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time. A police search of Potts’ truck revealed “three utility knifes/box cutters, a pair of scissors, an extension cord, an empty Jim Beam liquor bottle, a broken Smirnoff bottle and a Jim Beam flask,” according to Bowers’ findings.

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