White River Valley Man Charged in Shooting of N.C. Police
Mikel Brady during a Sept. 8, 2009, hearing in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)
This undated photo provided Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 by the Durham, N.C. police shows Mikel Edward Brady, 23, of Durham. Police arrested Brady for assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting of 42-year-old Trooper Michael Potts. Cooper's office said Brady had been wanted on warrants from Vermont. (AP Photo/Durham, N.C. Police)
A Randolph area fugitive who has been on the run since October was arrested in North Carolina yesterday after allegedly shooting a North Carolina State Trooper multiple times during a traffic stop on Monday night.
Mikel E. Brady, 23, who absconded in October after allegedly trying to poach a deer in Royalton, was arrested and charged with shooting a trooper on Monday night on a Durham, N.C., highway, officials said yesterday. Brady’s girlfriend, Lizzy Miller of Royalton, was in the car at the time of the shooting, Hartford Probation/Parole District Manager Bill Soule said. She was not the subject of any prior arrest warrants, and it was not immediately clear whether she will be charged in North Carolina, Soule said.
Brady was the subject of a massive manhunt after opening fire at North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Potts, 42, who was hit four times in his face, hand and shoulder, North Carolina law enforcement officials said during an afternoon press conference. Potts was in fair condition yesterday and expected to survive, officials said.
Upper Valley officials yesterday were trying to understand why Brady, facing relatively a light penalty for a minor offense, resorted to shooting a police officer to avoid capture.
“Human behavior is incredibly difficult to predict, and obviously, we were really taken aback by what happened,” Soule said. “We didn’t see it coming down the pipe. We were quite surprised.”
Around 6 p.m. Monday, Potts pulled over Brady on Highway 70 in part because he was not wearing a seatbelt, North Carolina Secretary of Public Safety Kieran Shanahan said during an afternoon press conference. Brady shot Potts four times at close range and then drove off, Shanahan said. Passersby tended to Potts, Shanahan said.
“It’s miraculous he’s alive,” Shanahan said.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory visited Potts, an 11 year veteran in the hospital, officials said.
Brady’s car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby business. He was arrested yesterday morning at an apartment building in nearby Raleigh, N.C., officials said during the press conference.
The Hartford parole office had information suggesting that Brady had left Vermont and was heading to the South — he has family somewhere in the region — but were not sure why he was in North Carolina, Soule said.
Home to Duke University, Durham, N.C., is part of the so-called Research Triangle area, a relatively urban part of North Carolina.
Local officials initially believed that Brady and his longtime friend Joshua Hill were together while on the run from charges that they tried to poach a deer that turned out to be a decoy deployed by game wardens in Royalton. But after Hill surrendered at the Hartord probation/parole office in early December, officials acknowledged they were unsure of Brady’s whereabouts.
Hill, 23, was sentenced to 30 days in prison after his surrender, Soule said. While Brady faced up to five years maximum because he was charged with new offenses, and fled, while on furlough, Soule said he likely would have received a much lighter sentence had he been taken into custody last fall.
“He could have made life easier by turning himself in,” Soule said.
The alleged shooting on Monday represented a dramatic escalation of a long series of criminal acts.
Hill and Brady pleaded guilty to breaking into the home of a Royalton woman in 2009 and beating her and her son with baseball bats in what they told police was an effort to steal marijuana and money. While facing those charges, the men fled to Mexico with Brady’s wife, Hill’s girlfriend, an infant child and a pit bull puppy. They were captured in a Cancun hotel where they had been staying after 12 days on the run.
Hill and Brady had previously been convicted of breaking into the Rock of Ages quarry in Bethel and stealing more than 200 sticks of dynamite and other equipment.
Janet Babcock, the victim of the home invasion, endorsed a relatively lenient plea deal that saw Brady sentenced to 28 months to 10 years in prison. He served roughly the minimum sentence.
“The only chance our community has is making a difference in young people’s lives,” Babcock said during a Windsor Superior Court sentencing hearing in January 2011. “Otherwise, we may as well lock them up forever, and that doesn’t seem like a good idea. ... He has to learn to have some value for life.”
Babcock could not be reached for comment yesterday.
After his release from prison, Brady was placed on furlough in early 2012. Before the deer poaching charge, Brady had followed all conditions of his release and had pleased probation officers with his progress, Soule said.
“There was nothing unusual — he was following all rules and regulations and doing everything he should have been doing,” Soule said. “We have 1,000 offenders on furlough, and most of them are gainfully trying to get back into the community. An incident like this leaves a mark on all of us.”
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.