A Vermont fugitive allegedly opened fire on a state trooper on a North Carolina highway Monday night.
"Last night was a very scary night when you get an officer down call," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said.
Police say when veteran Trooper Michael Potts stopped a driver for failing to buckle up, the man allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Potts four times-- in the face, hands and shoulders. Miraculously, the trooper survived and was able to radio in a description of the suspect, Mikel Brady, 23, of Vermont.
"For someone to so egregiously and recklessly be willing to take someone's life is outrageous and it shocks the conscious," said Kieran Shanahan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Police say the hail of gunfire was caught on cruiser cam. The trooper remains in stable but fair condition. Brady is now being charged with assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill. Vermont corrections officials say he's been on the run for four months and it's not his first escape. Law enforcement was not able to locate him until now.
"There was nothing in his past that would lead you to believe he was going to be pulled over on the side of the road and randomly shoot a cop four times. That's completely random given that he has some burglary charges and he was caught shooting a deer decoy," said Andy Pallito, the Vermont Corrections Commissioner.
Brady's criminal record dates back to 2007 and includes multiple convictions for burglary and grand larceny. He was released from prison last June after serving a three-year jail sentence for a combination of crimes, including stealing dynamite and assaulting a resident with a bat during a home invasion. Corrections says since Brady served his minimum sentence and met furlough requirements, he had to be released.
"If there were reservations we wouldn't have released him," Pallito said.
Pallito says the parole system is designed to give convicts an opportunity to prove themselves, improve their lives and move forward. He says Brady's case is the exception.
"Of the thousands of people that we let out on furlough every year, incidents are relatively low. This one was a particularly bad incident," Pallito said.
The Corrections commissioner says he's confident his department followed protocol, but says Brady's case will be reviewed. Right now in Vermont there are 38 individuals wanted for escape out of 9,000 on supervision.
Brady will be arraigned and tried in North Carolina. If convicted, he'll serve out his sentence there, and then he'll be returned to Vermont. This alleged violation means Brady will have to serve out his max sentence here in Vermont.
Trooper Potts is in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.
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