Wounded trooper: ‘I’ve been shot in the face!’

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 06:21 PM

A State Highway Patrol trooper wounded last month during a traffic stop in Durham radioed a plea for help after he was shot four times, according to a tape of radio traffic the patrol released Wednesday.

“Raleigh, hurry up!” Trooper Michael Potts said to the patrol’s communications center in Raleigh as he sat bleeding behind the wheel of his patrol car, with wounds to his face and other parts of his body. “Send the EMS! I’ve been shot in the face!”

Another trooper arrived at the scene at U.S. 70 and Cheek Road in about a minute, and Potts, 42, was rushed to Duke University Hospital. He has been released and is recovering at home.

“He’s doing well and in good spirits,” Sgt. Jeff Gordon, public information officer for the patrol, said Thursday.

“I can’t say what his plans are, because I don’t want to speak for him,” Gordon said. “All I can tell you is that he is recovering. He’s doing well under the circumstances. But as far as when he’s going to return [to work], that will have to be answered by him, and depends on when he’s ready to come back.”

Authorities arrested a Vermont fugitive, Mikel Edward Brady, 23, at a Raleigh apartment and charged him with shooting the trooper. Brady remained in the Durham County Jail Thursday under bonds totaling $10.5 million.

His 21-year-old pregnant girlfriend, Lyndsey Smith, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to the shooting and harboring a fugitive. She is in the Durham County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

Both await trial in Durham.

After Brady’s arrest, authorities reported finding bomb-making materials in Brady’s Durham apartment. Investigators seized PVC pipe, nails and a digital camera with “clear instructions marked how to make a bomb,” according to a search warrant. They also found a large map of Durham on the apartment’s bedroom wall with locations of police, fire and EMS stations marked.

Also seized from the apartment were nails, salt, a toolbox, a scale and a “small black metal tube,” “metal parts with holes drilled in the center” and “reactive targets,” the warrant states.

Brady and Smith had recently moved to Durham from Vermont, where Brady served prison time on multiple charges stemming from burglaries and a home invasion, and is wanted in Vermont on fugitive charges.

In an interview Thursday, Gordon said the shooting has brought troopers closer together.

“We’re a tight-knit organization, and especially within the Durham area, those troopers who work with each other day-to-day are a tight-knit group of people,” Gordon said. “So when a situation like this occurs, the Highway Patrol family comes together. They bring support, and their thoughts and prayers.”

Gordon said that anytime an officer is shot, it affects everyone in law enforcement.

“It brings to light how things can change in just the blink of an eye,” he said. “It kind of puts things in perspective – that life is short, and that this job can ultimately take your life.”