Trooper appreciates life, family more after shooting in Durham
Posted March 25, 2013
Durham, N.C. — 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
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."