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Potts returns to Highway Patrol, recalls being shot in Durham

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Michael Potts returned to work Thursday after being shot while on duty in Durham, joking that his wife has been wanting him to get out of the house.

"My wife has been telling me for the last few months, ‘It's time for you to go back to work,'" Potts quipped Friday when meeting with reporters. He will remain on desk duty until having re-training to return to the streets.

Potts rejoined the Patrol after a miraculous recovery from a shooting Feb. 18 by Mikel Brady, a fugitive from Vermont, during a routine traffic stop.

"I know the anniversary for it is coming and that will probably be a difficult time for me and I'm trying to prepare for it myself," Potts said.

Potts said returning to work is a way to help him deal with the memories of that night.

"Hopefully, staying busy will ease my mind," he said.

Potts said the concussion when the first shot was fired "was an unbelievable blast." Yet Potts managed to call for help, telling fellow officers, "I've been shot in the face."

"I remember picking up my microphone to call for help and saying, ‘I've got one shot at this. I've got to speak clear,'" Potts said.

He was hit five times, in the head and hands. Potts faced a difficult recovery and credits his former baseball career with helping him. Potts once played for the Durham Bulls.

The mental toughness he gained from baseball, he said, "was the key for my survival."

Potts' shooting generated national interest.

"I received a bunch of wonderful cards and letters from people all over the nation from as far as Wyoming," he said. "Being able to open those cards and to read each and every one of them shows people do appreciate you."

Also easing his mind is the fact that Brady will be spending 24 years in jail, although he says he holds no ill will toward Brady.

"I don't think about the person who did this, I really don't, so I don't hold any anger," he said.

Potts said what happened that night was a life-changing experience.

"I'm not a lucky man at all - I'm a blessed man and I had a blessing that day," he said. "I look forward to the new challenges that are coming up."

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