Local News

Alleged Potato Gun Plot Lands Seven Suspects In Hot Water

Posted February 25, 2003 6:02 a.m. EST

— Seven people are charged with attacking a Lenoir County deputy's house with a gun that shoots potatoes. Officers say the homemade device could have injured or killed someone.

Authorities said the suspects took a section of PVC pipe and placed a potato in it. The suspects then allegedly put chemicals in one end of the pipe and ignited it, firing the potato.

"They were trying to attack a fellow law enforcement officer and that inherently can cause problems," said Capt. Christopher Hill, of the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators believe the suspects, ranging in age from 16 to 23, were seeking revenge after deputies busted up a Friday night party that included underage drinking. Detectives say the suspects kicked the doors at several deputies' homes late at night.

When word got out the group would take things up a notch, the sheriff approved some stakeouts.

"We got lucky on this particular night because the first place these people pulled up was at a law enforcement officer's home and this officer actually witnessed the incident occur," Hill said.

No one was hurt, but the suspects were locked up for two felonies that include firing an explosive device into a home. The parent of one of the suspects told WRAL that he does not believe any of them were trying to hurt anyone, but he said this is not the time to make a public statement.

Authorities said the suspects were also videotaping their incidents. Six of the seven suspects are still in the Lenoir County Jail.