Man released from mental hospital after shooting Va. officer now arrested on gun, arson charges

WASHINGTON — A former cabdriver who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 shooting of an Alexandria police officer — and was released from a mental hospital eight months ago — has been arrested on gun and arson-related charges.

Kashif Bashir, 33, was arrested in Prince William County, Virginia, on Wednesday and charged with two counts of attempted arson and one count of arson, which are felonies. He also faced two misdemeanor counts of an acquitted insane person in possession of a gun.

Prince William County fire investigators were on the scene of a seemingly suspicious fire on Winged Elm Circle in Manassas Wednesday evening, according to a Saturday news release from the county. Investigators identified another incident in Bristow.

On Friday, fire marshals arrested Bashir without incident.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert confirmed Bashir was in custody.

In June 2018, an Alexandria Circuit Court judge released Bashir, with conditions, from the mental hospital he had been living in since being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the Feb. 27, 2013 shooting of motorcycle police officer Peter Laboy.

Laboy survived the shooting and has endured several surgeries. He was shot while assisting a young woman, who was being stalked by Bashir.

Laboy said that he was not too happy about the judge’s decision to conditionally release Bashir, saying it was “only a matter of time before he will mess up again. And, there he goes,” he told WTOP.

After the judge decided Bashir could live on his own if he stayed on antipsychotic drugs, saw a team of therapists several days a week, didn’t own or operate a motor vehicle, and remained within 50 miles of his Woodbridge apartment, Laboy said he was concerned for his safety as well as the safety of his family and other officers.

City of Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter tells WTOP he is “deeply concerned.”

“I note that I vehemently objected to Mr. Bashir being released, not out of vengeance, but out of true concern for public safety. I regret that my apprehensions have so quickly been proven correct.”

“My office will immediately file a motion to revoke Mr. Bashir’s conditional release,” said Porter. “I absolutely believe that our current system for addressing the intersection of public safety and mental health is deeply flawed — perhaps this unfortunate situation can provide the impetus for change.

Bashir remains in custody. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 8 in Prince William County District Court.

Online court records identify Bashir’s attorney as J. Paul Walla, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up