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An Old Town business owner said she received an email from another shop warning of a man believed to be Kashif Bashir, the man accused of shooting an Alexandria police officer.
UPDATE: Earlier Thursday night, a source within D.C. police told us they were interested in talking to Bashir about some possible criminal activity in the District. However, we have since been told that is incorrect; police did not want to talk to him about those cases.
The next two to three days will be very difficult for the Alexandria police officer shot in the head during a traffic stop Wednesday morning.
Officer Peter Laboy suffered a "catastrophic" gunshot wound to the temple that most people wouldn't survive, MedStar Washington Hospital Center Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janis Orlowski said Thursday afternoon, and he remains in very critical condition. Since undergoing at least two hours of surgery Wednesday evening, he has not regained consciousness, but he has moved his arms and legs, which is a positive sign.
“It’s remarkable that he has survived this gunshot wound,” Orlowski said. “It’s remarkable that he is moving his extremities.”
But doctors remain very cautious and concerned about the next two to three days. Brain injury patients experience significant swelling of the brain in that time. That can cause unstable blood pressure and unstable pulse.
Laboy suffered an injury in the area of the brain that affects the ability to talk and move arms and legs. He has months of physical and speech therapy ahead of him, Orlowski said.
“Our prayers and the care here we’re hoping will save his life,” Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said Wednesday night, calling the shooting a "horrific event."
The man accused of shooting Laboy and then leading a police chase through Fairfax County was ordered held without bond Thursday. Kashif Bashir, 27, of Woodbridge, has been charged with malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer and use of a firearm in commission of a felony, as well as traffic violations.
One Old Town business owner was shocked when she saw Bashir under arrest, she told News4's Shomari Stone.
Just a day earlier, another business owner had emailed to warn other shops about a man believed to be Bashir, said Toni Henderson at Mint Condition.
"We just heard he was a suspicious customer, came in, kind of loitered," Henderson said.
The email warned of a man who "got pretty close to the employees, was making [the owner] uncomfortable, invading her personal space," Henderson said.
Police said they will look into what happened.
Bashir, a cab driver, said little in a court appearance Thursday morning other than answering the judge's questions about his personal finances, reported News4's Tony Tull. He was then assigned a public defender.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 10.
Bashir was driving an Alexandria Yellow Cab minivan on Wilkes Street near Washington Street in Old Town around 11:45 a.m. when Laboy -- who was on duty and riding his police motorcycle -- stopped him after another officer reported a minor traffic offense in the area, police said.
After getting off his motorcycle, Laboy, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, took a shot to the head and did not return fire, News4's Erika Gonzalez reported.
Police did not disclose if he was struck more than once or if multiple shots were fired, but the gunshot wound to the head was the most severe of the injuries Laboy suffered.
Laboy was not able to call for help, but police received several 911 calls for an officer down, police said. One call reported the taxi driver leaving the scene at about 100 mph before a police chase ensued.
Students were on the playground at nearby Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy at the time of the shooting, Alexandria City Public Schools told News4's Mark Segraves. School personnel quickly took them inside.
Another officer spotted the cab believed to be involved on Washington Street, and the man driving that vehicle led police on a chase into the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, where he crashed into another vehicle at Fort Hunt Road and Belle View Boulevard.
Police recovered a weapon at the scene but did not provide details.
Alexandria police executed a search warrant at Bashir's home Wednesday night, News4's Shomari Stone reported. Investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting.
Laboy was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center with life-threatening injuries following the shooting.
He is a 17-year veteran of the force who has spent almost six years as a motorcycle officer, Alexandria police told Gonzalez.
He lives in Alexandria and has a wife and four children. He has secondary employment through Alexandria City Public Schools at T.C. Williams High School, where he walks the halls in uniform, providing additional security and mentoring.
“Peter is kind of a cop’s cop,” Chief Cook said. “You talk to his family and they’ll say Peter wanted to be a cop since he was two feet high. He loved the job. He worked diligently. I even was discussing with someone today the fact that Peter was actively involved in saving another veteran’s life just a few months ago. He’s already saved other lives. He’s that kind of cop.”
Laboy loves riding motorcycles and traffic enforcement, said Lt. Ed Milner, who was Laboy's partner when the two were detectives several years ago. Laboy started riding motorcycles in his youth.
“He is the kind of guy who always goes the extra mile,” said Sgt. Brian Thompson, Laboy’s immediate supervisor.
A few months ago, Laboy was the first at the scene of a man threatening to take his own life with a gun, Thompson said. Laboy is a hostage negotiator and was able to talk the man into surrendering.
“And that’s the kind of thing that Peter does all the time,” Thompson said.
A person in the other car involved in the Fort Hunt Road crash was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“I’m shocked and saddened and I feel so much concern and worry for the family of the officer,” Alexandria Yellow Cab General Manager Kyle Summers told News4’s Stone. “I don’t have words to describe how I feel.”
A father and son rented the taxi involved, Summers said.
“It appears that the person who was arrested was the son,” he told Stone Wednesday afternoon after seeing a photo of the man arrested.
Alexandria Yellow Cab, which provides just the dispatch service for drivers, is cooperating with police, Summers said. He added that the company has never experienced anything like this.
“Both the father and son who rent this taxicab have always been very pleasant, calm and polite whenever they interacted with us here at the office,” Summers said.
Police are not looking for any other suspects at this time.
Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy dismissed students at the usual time Wednesday afternoon but at an entrance on Gibbon Street due to the police activity. The principal contacted parents about the incident and the altered dismissal pattern. Counselors are available for students who need them, Segraves reported.
Police ask any witnesses to call the Alexandria Police Department at 703-746-6711.
Those wishing to help the Laboy family can drop off a donation at the Alexandria Police Department (3600 Wheeler Ave.) or send a donation to:
Alexandria Police Association c/o Peter Laboy
P.O. Box 1228
Alexandria, VA 22313
The family also requests that those who want to donate blood on behalf of Laboy call the Washington Hospital Center blood donor service at 866-49-DONOR.
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