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Trooper appreciates life, family more after shooting in Durham

Posted March 25, 2013

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— Five weeks after shots rang out during a traffic stop, nearly ending his life, North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Michael L. Potts said Monday that he no longer takes his life for granted.

Potts was shot in the shoulder, both hands and his right cheek on Feb. 18 after he pulled over Mikel Edward Brady for a seat belt violation on U.S. Highway 70 in Durham.

"I went up to the driver's side and just noticed he was nervous. He couldn't look at me," Potts said. "Next thing I know, I have a gun in my face."

After firing four shots, Brady, 23, sped off, police said.

Badly injured, Potts called for help. 

"Hurry up, I've been shot in the face," he said on radio traffic. He also provided a description of Brady and his car, triggering a large-scale manhunt that eventually led to his arrest.

"I remember doing everything that I was taught to do," Potts said. "Where the strength came from, I don't know. I guess I got it inside me. We all got it inside of us." 

In his recovery, Potts has relied on the strength of his wife, Lauren, 19-year-old daughter, Kelli, and 4-year-old son, Ethan. 

"I'm very thankful for them. They've been my rocks," he said.

In the days following the shooting, Potts' face was so swollen that Ethan was too afraid to talk to him. Now, five weeks later, just two small bullet marks scar his cheek. Trooper focused on family after Durham shooting Trooper focused on family after Durham shooting

But his hands are sore, and there's still a bullet lodged in the back of his head.

Potts said talking about the shooting has been therapeutic but that the greatest healing comes in his new perspective on life.

"I appreciate it a lot more, obviously," he said. "My focus has been on nothing but me and my family and friends and the blessing I got that day."

14 Comments

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  • godshelper Mar 26, 2013

    lopo,

    I do not think you know what you are talking about. This officer did his job. Driving is not a right in North Carolina. If you do not want to obey laws then don't drive it's simple. I know a few of them personally and they are great people. I know that they appreciate your tax contribution to their salary. wipe your eyes and quit crying..."ain't nobody got time for that!"

  • Whatev333 Mar 26, 2013

    Personally, lopo, I have had my life saved by a LEO. And the funny thing about it, I do not even know his name. It was a very long time ago. I also have an ex who is still a LEO in another state. Now, you may spew your bile here on WRAL, and, you may be excersizing your rights to freedom of speech... but your ignorance is showing. Not only does SHP save lives by stopping law breakers BEFORE they kill someone by vehicular manslaughter... there are rare instances where the heavens open, God puts a Trooper in the right place and the right time, and a larger catastrophe has been diverted. Trooper Potts is a hero and his courage is to be admired. I hope you ge tthe pleasure of being pulled over by him some day.

  • stephen_78 Mar 26, 2013

    Trooper Potts. I'm glad you're recovering. God Bless You and Thank You!!

  • Singlemalt Mar 26, 2013

    Lopo, not taking the bait on that one, neither should anyone else here. Keep the focus on the Trooper and his moving forward in life.

  • ASU Mar 26, 2013

    Lopo,

    This guys plans were to blow up a fire department, ems building, or police station. I hope none of your family works as a first responder with a attitude like yours.

  • ASU Mar 26, 2013

    Lopo,

    You are a idoit. Do you know how many people are wanted and are arrested for minor traffic infractions. If you have ever heard of Timothy Mcveigh was stopped by a trooper for a minor traffic violation. There are many more. A trooper in NY stopped a car for a minor traffic violation and there were two dead body's in the trunk. Please know what you are talking about.

  • Pepe Silvia Mar 26, 2013

    "I'm sorry the officer got shot but I think as our police force keeps up their Gestapo attitude the public will start retaliating. He was pulling/harassing this guy for a seat belt while gangs are shooting each other every day." lopo

    As a State Trooper, one of his primary duties is to enforce the laws of the road. City police handle gang related issues and other crime.

    Brady, the 'person' (I use that term lightly) who shot him had maps of police departments, fire stations, hospitals and other public safety buildings as well as bomb making equipment and was a wanted criminal. As much as I hate to say it, Trooper Potts getting shot may have been a good thing because it resulted in Brady being caught BEFORE he could carry out whatever plans he might have had.

    A surprisingly large number of criminals (yes, even wanted & known gang members) are caught BECAUSE of seat belt violations and other traffic issues because once their DL# is run, everything on their record comes back.

  • working for deadbeats Mar 26, 2013

    I couldn't be happier to see you doing well, Trooper!

  • working for deadbeats Mar 26, 2013

    "I'm sorry the officer got shot but I think as our police force keeps up their Gestapo attitude the public will start retaliating. He was pulling/harassing this guy for a seat belt while gangs are shooting each other every day."

    Wow....

  • One Way Mar 26, 2013

    Trooper Potts, thank you so much for everything you have done (and will do)and for risking your life day in and day out to make sure mine is safe. So many times we, as citizens, take LEOs for granted and fail to realize how different life would be without you. Continue to get up every morning and strive to get back to work because I know it takes true calling to do what you do and we need you. Know you are being prayed for daily...

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