Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy has left acute care to undergo rehabilitation therapy.
“This is a miracle. I have seen recovery from a gunshot wound… I’ve been at this for 27 years. This is one for the books. It really is,” MedStar Washington Hospital Center Chief Medical Officer Janis Orlowski said at a news conference.
Laboy is walking, alert, will say a word or two and recognizes his wife, Orlowski said, adding that the officer who was shot in the temple has up to 12 months of rehab therapy ahead of him.
The Alexandria Police officer has been moved from MedStar's trauma center to the nearby MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, also on Irving Street in Washington, DC.
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Orlowski noted Thursday that in a remarks she made at a Feb. 28 press conference shortly after Laboy was injured she was not able to predict if he would be alive in 72 hours because of swelling and damage that can occur.
However, about three to four days after his initial surgery he opened his eyes and a couple of days later he was able to sit bedside, according to Orlowski. He entered the trauma center by National Park Service helicopter from Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy.
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A brain scan shows he has significant injury to his brain’s frontal lobe. Orlowski said individuals who undergo this type of injury usually do recover some speech, walk and do other activities.
As to what “level, I can’t say right now,” Orlowski said.
Laboy does have another surgery ahead of him to repair parts of his skull that were removed to extract the bullet that fragmented in his brain. Some of those fragments were removed, but one piece in the center of his brain will remain.
“I would never use the word ‘lucky’ but the way the bullet traversed the brain, he was fortunate not to have major areas damaged,” Orlowski said.
The bullet went through his temple, did not exit and hit the other side of his skull. To address that injury, the medical team removed part of his skull on both the left and right side of his head.
More than 100 specialists have treated Laboy since his stay at the hospital, according to Orlowski.
He currently wears a helmet similar to a motorcycle helmet, Orlowski said.
“You take one look at those four beautiful boys he has—he has every reason to live,” said Orlowski.
Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook spoke at the event, thanking the hospital staff and praising Laboy.
“Peter has always been a guy with a lot of courage,” he said.
Responding to a reporter’s question, Cook said there is no firm motive on what prompted the shooter to fire. Police say the shooter was taxi driver Kashif Bashir, of Woodbridge, who is charged with shooting Laboy when the officer stopped him for questioning.
Cook read a statement from Laboy’s wife Suzanne who thanked everyone for support, prayers and love. “We know we have a long road ahead of us,” she said.
The Alexandria Police Association and Laboy's family are organizing a blood drive at Alexandria police headquarters March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
On April 21, there will be another fundraiser for Laboy. TopGolf in Kingstowne will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Laboy and his family. Entry will be $25, which includes food and two drink tickets. There will be a silent auction during the event.
Fundraisers such as Sunday's at Virtue Feed & Grain have raised more than $75,000 for Laboy and his family.
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