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Trooper injured in shooting ID'd; gunman still sought

Posted February 18, 2013
Updated February 19, 2013

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— Authorities were searching early Tuesday for a gunman who they say opened fire on a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper during a routine traffic stop in Durham Monday night. 

The shooter began firing when Trooper Michael L. Potts got out of his patrol car on U.S. Highway 70 near Cheek Road about 6:15 p.m., Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jeff Gordon said. He was described as a white man in his 20s, wearing a white T-shirt, with blond hair and short, military-style haircut. 

After shooting Potts, the gunman took off in a black Nissan Altima with 30-day North Carolina tags, Gordon said, heading west on U.S. 70.

About three hours later, police found the car in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant.

The employees of Los Comales, at 2103 N. Roxboro St., said they don't know how the car got there, but the restaurant owner said he turned over surveillance video of the parking lot to investigators.

It wasn't clear whether authorities believe the gunman is now on foot or if he fled in another vehicle.

Anyone who sees a man matching the description of the shooter should call *HP or 911 immediately.

"Anytime you have anybody that has a weapon and has shot an officer, that's always a danger to the public," Gordon said.

All westbound lanes of U.S. 70 at Cheek Road and parts of Interstate 85 were shut down for several hours while authorities were at the scene. U.S. 70 reopened around 11:30 p.m. Monday. Trooper shot in Durham Search continues for gunman following trooper shooting

Potts, whose name was released Tuesday on the Troopers Association Facebook page, was taken to Duke University Hospital. He was in fair condition Tuesday morning, Gordon said. 

Potts was surrounded by family and got a visit from Gov. Pat McCrory, who went straight to the hospital after his State of the State address.

Authorities did not release information about how many times Potts was shot, but the Troopers Association said in its post Tuesday that he was hit in the face, hand and shoulder.

The State Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement agencies from all over North Carolina are assisting in the search.

55 Comments

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  • 4Strikes Feb 19, 10:08 a.m.

    "A white dude shooting at another white dude for no good reason? What do you think?"
    NotUrTypicalAmerican

    Could be one of those crazy tea partiers.

  • Just Once Feb 19, 10:06 a.m.

    I have a great deal of respect for Officer Potts and will hope for a full and fast recovery. Prayers for him and his family.

  • jaecee452 Feb 19, 9:56 a.m.

    white people are becoming increasingly violent...

    Are you kidding...Against popular opinion white people has always been violent....

  • granville93 Feb 19, 9:49 a.m.

    We do not pay these Troopers enough. Best wishes to him and his family.

  • livinginapex Feb 19, 9:46 a.m.

    Info and picture of suspect:

    http://www.wcax.com/story/21238540/vt-man-sought-for-shooting-nc-police-officer

  • prodigalrn Feb 19, 9:46 a.m.

    Just heard from a person with links to the SHP that they've caught the gunman. Hope it's true.

  • livinginapex Feb 19, 9:45 a.m.

    description of suspect and his vehicle:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=480352825346225&set=a.254739201240923.56281.238818532832990&type=1&theater

  • Firegal Feb 19, 9:45 a.m.

    If there is a gag order, why is it in the news in Vermont? (The suspects home state)

  • Pepe Silvia Feb 19, 9:43 a.m.

    "Anytime you have anybody that has a weapon and has shot an officer, that's always a danger to the public," Gordon said.

    Because if they had shot someone else it would have been less of a danger to the public. - awr117

    Actually awr117, I think it has to do with the fact that anyone willing to shoot at an officer during a traffic stop clearly has something to hide and nothing to lose. Shooting an officer means you are shooting someone you KNOW is armed and trained with their weapon (not to mentioned, potentially wearing a bullet proof vest) and will shoot back without hesitation.

  • Hans Feb 19, 9:41 a.m.

    "Smells like a sovereign citizen type to me." NotUrTypicalAmerican

    "Really...Why? Because he is white? LOL" - 4Strikes

    ^
    Do not underestimate the power of the WRAL super-sleuths. They can jump to a conclusion based on the scantest trace of information better than anyone I've ever seen.

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