Officer Peter Laboy: Hundreds line up to support wounded officer at fundraiser
It was a perfect sunny Sunday for people crowding into the Virtue Feed and Grain restaurant in Alexandria.
But the focus was not a football game, or even the food.
The hundreds who lined up outside were there to lend support to hospitalized Alexandria Officer Peter Laboy.
"We all rally to take care of one another. Big family," says Ellen Jones, a hospital co-worker of Laboy's wife Suzanne.
"We're here to give them love and support, from now until Peter's back on his motorcycle," she adds.
Many of those attending this raffle draw and a live and silent auction are in stressful, dangerous jobs: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors and nurses.
Others, like Alexandria resident Ruth Tallmer, just wanted to reach out.
"I wanted to do what I can," she said softly. "It was terrible, really, really upsetting. So random. Horrifying."
On February 27th, Laboy was shot in the head, while attempting to make a traffic stop in Old Town.
Police say when Laboy, a motorcycle officer, tried to pull over Kashif Bashir, a 27-year old cabdriver, he began shooting.
"I was devastated. I was fearful," recalls Andrea Hoard, a retired Prince William County Police Officer.
"I was very confident the officer was going to be taken care of medically, and his brothers and sisters were going to find the criminal and bring him to justice."
Authorities arrested Bashir after a short police chase. He's charged with malicious wounding of a police officer, and faces a court hearing April 10th.
Before the shooting, officers were investigating a report Bashir was harassing women at a King Street boutique.
But after the gunfire, Laboy's fellow officers were becoming increasingly concerned.
Doctors say his head wound was 'catastrophic'--- one that most people would not have survived.
"We didn't really even know if Peter was going to make it," says Alexandria Police Captain Shahram Fard.
"We had just fiinished training together a couple of weeks ago," says Jason Schmauder, a neighbor of Laboy's, and an Alexandria Fire Department paramedic.
"It hit hard. It hit home. I was anxious to get back into town to help any way I could," he says.
Since her husband's shooting, Suzanne Laboy has posted a daily blog about his progress.
'Superman's Journal' has had more than 39,000 visits.
"It's really miraculous he's with us today," Fard says. "She's posted updates about his walking and start talking a little bit. So, physically, he seems to be okay. But there's still a lot of recovery to be made for him."
Friends say Laboy is making progress, but there's still a long way to go.
Still, those who came to the fundraiser say they want the officer and his family to know they are not alone.
"We pray every day to get him back to work again," Smith says. "God is watching over Peter."