ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The next two to three days will be critical for the Alexandria motorcycle officer who was shot in the head during a traffic stop Wednesday, says the chief medical officer at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.
“Officer Laboy suffered what we would consider a catastrophic gunshot wound to the head,” says Dr. Janis Orlowski.
“It’s actually quite remarkable that he is alive today.”
Officer Peter Laboy, who has been described as a “cop’s cop,” remains in critical condition.
“We remain cautious and concerned over the next 48 to 72 hours,” Orlowski says.
Laboy has not regained consciousness but has moved his arms and legs.
“It’s remarkable that he has survived this gunshot wound. It’s remarkable that he is moving his extremities,” she says. “Most people would not have survived this injury.”
The shooting occurred near Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy Wednesday before noon, as children played outside. Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook says police have not finished identifying all of the witnesses, and says there are witnesses who have yet to be interviewed.
Laboy, 45, who suffered other injuries in addition to the gunshot wound, underwent several hours of surgery. He remains in the intensive care unit.
“This is an exceptionally shocking day for Alexandria and its police department,” Cook says about the shooting of the 17-year veteran.
“I’ve known Peter for a long time and words cannot express how we feel about this horrific event,” he says.
“Our prayers go out to Peter and his family as he struggles to regain his life.”
Cook would not say how many shots were fired, but did say Laboy, who has been a motorcycle officer for six years, was off his motorcycle and approaching the cab.
“The number of times that he may or may not have been shot we’re not disclosing at this time. The most serious is the head wound,” Cook says.
Orlowski says the bullet entered through his temple and broke into pieces.
“Fragments were removed,” she says.
Laboy is a married man with children who volunteers in Alexandria City Public Schools.
“Peter is kind of a cop’s cop,” Cook says. “He loved the job, he worked diligently.”
Police arrested Kashif Bashir, 27, of Woodbridge, Va. — the driver of a Yellow Cab — on charges of malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
After the shooting, Bashir — the only person in the cab — led police on a chase that ended when the cab struck a white Mercedes Benz at Fort Hunt Road and Belle View Boulevard in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, police say.
The Mercedes was traveling in the opposite direction on a steep curve. Neither Bashif nor the driver of the Mercedes was seriously injured, police say, and Bashif was taken into custody after the crash.
Authorities haven’t yet pieced together what happened when Laboy approached Bashir during the traffic stop near Washington and Wilkes streets. Laboy stopped the cab just before noon Wednesday.
Police recovered a weapon at the scene in Old Town Alexandria, but Cook says ballistics tests on the gun are not back yet, so it’s not known whether it is the weapon used in the shooting.
“It will take days, if not weeks, for us to completely put together what has happened in this incident,” Cook says.
Police said several bystanders called to report the shooting and that Laboy did not communicate that he had been shot. Laboy, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, did not return fire, the chief says.
Anyone with information about the shooting and related chase is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section of the Alexandria Police Department at 703-746- 6711.
A fund has been established by the Alexandria Police Association to help the Laboy family. Anyone wishing to make a donation should drop it off at the Alexandria Police Department, 3600 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, Va. 22304.
Or they can send it:
The Alexandria Police Association
c/o Peter Laboy
P.O. Box 1228
Alexandria, Va. 22313
WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.