By Derrick Perkins (File photo)
A little more than a year after nearly losing his life in the line of duty, police officer Peter Laboy is back on the job.
Chief Earl Cook said the one-time motorcycle officer has begun returning to the department’s West End headquarters building several days a week as part of his ongoing recovery. Laboy, 46, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being shot in the head in February 2013.
“He is still a long way from deciding what his life is going to be,” Cook said. “But he’s there and he’s starting to recover and we love that.”
Meanwhile, the man accused of shooting the 18-year veteran of the department has been declared incompetent to stand trial yet again. A judge sent Kashif Bashir of Woodbridge back to a state mental hospital on Monday.
Bashir, who drove a taxicab for Alexandria Yellow Cab at the time of the shooting, allegedly gunned Laboy down during a traffic stop at the intersection of South St. Asaph and Wilkes streets — within sight of students at nearby Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy. Police had issued an alert for Bashir earlier in the day.
As a U.S. Park Police helicopter descended on the school’s athletic fields to spirit Laboy away to a Washington hospital, Bashir led authorities on a chase across city lines. Officers arrested him after the cab crashed in Fairfax County.
Prosecutors charged the Pakistani national with attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
But Bashir was deemed incompetent to stand trial after his attorneys reported he suffered from hallucinations among other mental health issues. Following a six-month stay at a state mental hospital, Bashir was deemed fit to stand trial.
His case was expected to begin in early June, but his defense team again claimed Bashir was incompetent to stand trial, bringing in a second psychologist to evaluate the one-time cabbie.
Monday’s decision puts Bashir’s case back in limbo. His mental health status is expected to come up for review on June 19, though doctors could determine him fit for trial at any point.
As Bashir makes his way through the court system, Laboy continues recuperating. Doctors have described his recovery as miraculous, given the extent of the injuries.
His wife, Suzanne Laboy, has documented his healing process online, sharing the family’s progress and setbacks with the community. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the shooting, she thanked all those who had supported them during her husband’s recovery.
“I look back and think about all of the things we have all been through. Some I would like to forget. Some I will remember forever,” Suzanne Laboy wrote. “Traumatic brain injury has become a common term used in our every day life but we will not have it define us. We will continue to learn and grow. Healing takes a lifetime and we have a lot of life to live.”
“I hope to help others as we have been helped. Not sure what that will look like in the future. For now, we will live each day to the fullest and love harder than ever.”