Vermont parolee charged with shooting trooper in Durham

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comFebruary 19, 2013 

— Mikel Edward Brady II, the man charged with shooting a state trooper four times during a routine traffic stop Monday, had assembled a lengthy criminal record by the time he turned 21, with state and federal convictions for robbery, burglary, assault and stealing dynamite in Vermont.

Brady, now 23, had been in a prison furlough program when Vermont authorities lost track of him last fall. He surfaced Monday night when trooper Michael L. Potts pulled him over on U.S. 70 on the east side of Durham, in part because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Secretary of Public Safety Kieran J. Shanahan said that as Potts approached the car, Brady shot Potts four times “at extremely close range.” The incident was recorded by Potts’ patrol car video camera, Shanahan said at a news conference in Durham.

Potts, 42, was hit in the face, his right shoulder and both hands.

“It’s miraculous he survived,” Shanahan said.

The shooting set off a manhunt. Despite his wounds, Potts was able to get back to his car and report a description of his assailant and the car he was driving, Shanahan said. Investigators say they found the car, a “newer model” Nissan Altima with a temporary 30-day registration tag like the ones issued by car dealers, in the rear parking lot of a restaurant at North Roxboro and St. Paul streets.

Information from the car helped investigators track Brady to an apartment complex in the Brier Creek area of Raleigh on Tuesday morning. Durham police listed Brady’s address as White Pine Drive in Durham.

Durham authorities jailed Brady under an $8 million bail after police charged him with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Brady had lived in the town of Randolph, Vt., about 25 miles south of Montpelier, the state capital. Vermont police have been looking for him since October, when they charged him with felony escape from the state’s prison furlough program, said Dale Crook, a spokesman with the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Brady had been convicted of assault, robbery and three counts of felony burglary in December 2010. By March of last year, he had served the minimum period of a sentence of 28 months to 10 years, and he was released from prison on June 25, said William Soule, a probation and parole supervisor in Vermont.

Crook said Brady was charged and convicted of three burglaries, including the 2008 theft of a safe from a McDonald’s restaurant that contained $4,000.

2009 home invasion

The most serious crime was a home invasion robbery in 2009 at the home of a woman who suffered from a traumatic brain injury and used medical marijuana to alleviate her pain. Brady and another man thought the woman’s teenage son was growing and selling marijuana and broke into the home intending to rob him of supposed drug profits, according to The Herald, a newspaper in Randolph, Vt.

Brady and his accomplice were both wearing ski masks and wielding baseball bats when they smashed through the glass doors of the home, demanding cash. The woman told a Vermont court that Brady pulled a knife across her arm five times, drawing blood and cutting deeper each time, while haranguing her for money she did not have.

Judge Patricia Zimmerman found mitigating circumstances surrounding the case. Brady suffered from a bipolar condition and post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the stabbing deaths of his father and an uncle in Connecticut when Brady was 12. While Brady was in custody awaiting trial for the robbery and assault, his attorney described him as a well-liked, model prisoner who had earned a high school diploma while behind bars and had quit drinking before his arrest, according to The Herald.

When Vermont correction officials released Brady in June, they enrolled him in a program of supervised release in the community. Brady was to remain in the program until 2020, but was reported missing four months later after he was charged with shooting deer out of season and with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Soule said.

Brady was also serving a federal sentence for theft of explosives and was on two years’ probation with federal authorities at the same time he was serving his state sentence, Soule said.

The federal case involved dynamite stolen from a quarry. He attempted to trade it for drugs, Soule said.

“That deal went wrong,” Soule said.

Trooper in fair condition

Potts, an 11-year veteran assigned to Durham County, is expected to make a full recovery. Potts was “conscious and alert and able to interact,” said acting Highway Patrol Commander Gary Bell, who visited him at Duke University Hospital. Potts was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

Gov. Pat McCrory visited Potts and his family at the hospital on Monday night after delivering his first State of the State address to the General Assembly in Raleigh.

Potts has undergone two surgeries – the first to stop bleeding and the second to repair damage to his face, Shanahan said.

Shanahan and Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez said citizen cooperation was vital in their search for Brady. Shanahan said two drivers stopped to help Potts before a second patrolman arrived.

Witnesses to the shooting were still assisting with the police investigation, said Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon.

News researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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