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Road to recovery challenging for local police officer shot in the head

Sunday - 6/1/2014, 10:32am  ET

Alexandria police officer Peter Laboy is pictured with his wife Suzanne inside his hospital room. (Alexandria Police Department)

Police officer copes with traumatic brain injury

WTOP's Jamie Forzato


WASHINGTON - It's been more than a year since Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy was shot in the head by a cabdriver during a routine traffic stop. He survived, but the road to recovery has been difficult for him and his family.

"What happened to me, usually people don't survive that," Laboy says.

With bullet fragments still lodged in areas of his brain that control personality and behavior, doctors say his physical recovery has been miraculous. But Laboy still suffers from seizures and simple tasks can be frustrating. He tells The Washington Post he gets agitated easily and has lost interest in some of the things he once loved to do, like volunteering for the police department he served for 17 years.

"Everybody sees me and they see me walking around and doing stuff and they say, ‘You look great.' But they don't understand what's going on inside my brain," he says.

His wife Suzanne says he's become unemotional. "What I've learned with traumatic brain injury is, you don't know what you're going to get day to day. While he can be spot on one day or one moment, in just an instant it can change, whether he's tired or hungry or the medications have worn off,"she says.

She writes on her blog: Has anyone seen my husband? … He says "I'm the new Peter." Sometimes I want the old one back.

Peter Laboy says he's focusing on getting better. He can't drive because of the seizures but is hopeful that he will be able to one day.

Recently, the Alexandria Police Department and Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Gold Medal of Valor.

Kashif Bashir, the man accused of shooting Laboy, was declared incompetent to stand trial in March. His defense attorney testified that she was concerned for his mental state and a psychologist told the court that Bashir could not communicate with his lawyers. Bashir was sent back to Central State Hospital for further treatment and there will be another competency review in June - the same month of his original scheduled trial. A new trial date has not been set.

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