Durham police find bomb-making materials in home of man charged with shooting trooper

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comFebruary 27, 2013 

TROOPERSHOT.021813.TI

Mikel Brady, 23, leaves Durham Police Department Tuesday, February 18, 2013. He was arrested Tuesday morning in connection with the Monday evening shooting of a State Highway Patrol trooper during a routine traffic stop near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Cheek Road.

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— Police found what appeared to be bomb-making materials and instructions on how to make bombs when they searched the Durham apartment of a Vermont man who has been charged with shooting a state trooper in the face during a traffic stop.

Investigators also found a large map of Durham on the man’s bedroom wall “with locations of police, fire and emergency medical services locations clearly marked,” police detective A.K. Richards stated in a search warrant application made public Wednesday.

Mikel Edward Brady II, 23, remains in the Durham County Detention Center under $10.5 million bail after police charged him with shooting trooper Michael L. Potts on Feb. 18 after the officer pulled the black Nissan Altima he was driving on U.S. 70.

Brady’s girlfriend, Lyndsey Smith, 21, was charged as being an accessory after the fact of felony. Investigators accused Smith of giving Brady a ride after he dumped the Altima behind an east Durham restaurant.

The couple lived together at a first-floor apartment in the 1200 block of White Pine Drive near Hillsborough Road in West Durham, police reported.

Police searched Brady and Smith’s apartment twice after Brady’s arrest, according to the warrants made public Wednesday. During their initial search on Feb. 19, investigators found a digital camera with “clear pictures marked how to make bombs.”

Richards, the detective, stated that investigators took pictures of other items in the apartment during the search and became concerned that Brady may have been attempting to manufacture or assemble a weapon of mass destruction. Detectives showed the photos of the items to members of an FBI task force, who said the items “were commonly used to make bombs,” Richards stated in the court affidavit.

The investigators returned to the apartment on Feb. 22 and seized PVC pipe, salt, a toolbox, nails, a scale, a small black metal tube, metal parts with holes drilled in the corner and “reactive targets,” according to the search warrant application.

Police have not yet identified the “reactive targets” recovered from the apartment, nor have they indicated whether the seized metal tube and PVC pipe appeared to be for the making of pipe bombs.

The Feb. 18 shooting occurred just after 6 p.m. along the westbound lanes of U.S. 70 near Cheek Road on the east side of Durham.

Witnesses told police that Potts had stopped the Nissan in the westbound lanes of U.S. 70. One witness said Potts approached the window of the stopped vehicle, took a glance at traffic and turned back to the window when shots were fired. The trooper crumpled to the ground but managed to get back to his patrol car to radio for help. The Altima sped away.

Investigators found the Altima, with a temporary 30-day tag, in the rear parking lot of a restaurant at North Roxboro and St. Paul streets. Durham police think Smith picked Brady up at the restaurant.

Police arrested Brady the following morning at an apartment complex in Raleigh.

Investigators say Potts, 42, was hit in the face, right shoulder and both hands. He was released from the hospital last week and is expected to make a full recovery, the State Highway Patrol reported.

Brady had lived in Randolph, Vt., where authorities charged him with felony escape from the state’s prison furlough program last fall. He had been convicted of assault, robbery and three counts of felony burglary in Vermont 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.

Parole officials lost track of him in October after he was charged with shooting deer out of season and with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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. The federal case involved dynamite stolen from a quarry. Brady attempted to trade the explosives for drugs, authorities reported.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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