'I understand what they're going through:' Trooper shot 6 years ago speaks out after recent law officer ambushes

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A state trooper who nearly lost his life during a traffic stop six years ago is weighing in on the recent shootings of another North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper and Raleigh police officer.

Former trooper Michael Potts told ABC11 the back-to-back shootings have been hard to digest.

"It's so close together, it bound me up pretty bad," Potts said.

Raleigh Officer Charles Ainsworth is still fighting to recover at WakeMed.

Trooper Daniel Harrell was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Potts said the recovery process will be long and is not confined to the walls of a hospital room.

"(There is) the mental and psychological part of it as well," he said. "For someone to point a gun at you and attempt to murder you, that's something that's very difficult to process. ... I understand what they're going through."

Next month marks six years since Potts nearly lost his life in the line of duty.

"I knew before the round was discharged from the gun that I couldn't get away from it," Potts said.

On Feb. 18, 2013, Potts pulled over Mikel Edward Brady II for a seat-belt violation on Highway 70 and ended up taking five shots. One bullet hit his face and another the back of his head.

"I was trapped. I couldn't move. Just the energy coming out of the gun, felt like I had 10,000-pound weights on each shoulder. I couldn't move," Potts recalled.

He managed to crawl to his cruiser and radio for help. He received the Purple Heart award for the injuries he sustained.

Since the shooting, Potts has been invited to several training courses to share his experience.

It was at one of those classes recently he met Ainsworth, who was going through the Academy at the time.

Ainsworth, only a year on the force, is now the victim of a similar shooting.

"It tears me up completely," Potts said.

Potts said he's been reaching out to Ainsworth's family to offer support.

He also said that when Trooper Harrell was released from the hospital, the two were able to talk on the phone.

"I know that he's enjoying life right now," Potts said.

Potts, who is retired from Highway Patrol, said that despite what he has endured and the danger the job requires, he has no regrets.

"I wouldn't discourage anybody from doing the job if it's something that's calling you, absolutely," he said.
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