Trooper Jerimy Mathis spoke to ABC11 during a Mothers Against Drunk Driving award ceremony in Cary Friday evening.
Mathis was first on scene to answer the call that every trooper dreads -- one of their own shot. He said his partner suffered life-changing injuries.
"Because of a thug with a gun, his life is forever changed and he's not able to be here with us tonight," said Mathis.
Potts was supposed to be at Friday's ceremony with Mathis to honor fellow troopers with plaques for keeping drunken drivers off the roads. However, this week's shooting changed that.
Monday, Potts pulled over a black Nissan with 30-day tags when the driver, Mickel Brady, allegedly opened fire.
"Oh God," said Mathis. "The only thing I could think of was get to him as fast as I could."
Responding to Potts' aid, Mathis was the first to see Potts shot four times -- once in each hand, a shoulder and the right side of his face.
"Horrible, horrific, just the worst, the worst sight that I could imagine," said Mathis.
What made Potts exceptional was his quick response to his own emergency.
"He was able to make it back to his car, radio for help, [and] give his exact location where he was at," said Mathis.
Doctors have since treated and released Potts from Duke Hospital, and now he's at home where Mathis says the humble and hardworking trooper is resting and anxious to get back to work.
"I know him very well and it'll be soon. If it's in his power at all, it will be very soon," said Mathis. "He's in good spirits. He's his jovial self. He's at home with family exactly where he needs to be."
Potts has received an award from the MADD banquet twice, as recently as last year.
On a side note, Mathis was the keynote speaker at Friday's event. He said his brother and another friend's deaths, both caused by a drunken driver, inspired him to join the Highway Patrol.