Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
KENLY — The North Johnston High School community is mourning the loss of Austin “Catfish” Potter, who drowned May 14 in Atlantic Beach while trying to rescue his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.
Potter, 24, who was living in Havelock and previously lived in Kenly, is a 2013 North Johnston High graduate.
Chris Batten, who coached Potter in basketball for three years at North Johnston, said Potter was “a good kid.”
“Chris was laid back and a regular, down-to-earth guy,” said Batten. “He got along with everybody and did not have any enemies. He just enjoyed being with the guys and being a part of the team.”
Batten said Potter had been known as “Catfish” for as long as he could remember.
Investigators said Potter died when he got caught in a rip current trying to rescue the boy, according to the Associated Press.
Rescuers found Potter floating face-down and brought him and the 5-year-old to a local hospital where both victims were pronounced dead, the AP reported.
Tim Harrell, who was principal at North Johnston when Potter was a student there, said he felt “very sad” to hear news of Potter’s death.
“He was a great young man and always did what he was expected to do,” said Harrell. “He was a friend of everyone and always had a smile on his face.”
“The North Johnston community has always been very close,” Harrell added, and this hurts us all.”