Witnesses testifying in the shooting case of officer Peter Laboy outlined a sunny, normal day that turned Feb. 27 into a surreal nightmare, leaving the Alexandria officer critically injured and police on a high-speed chase into Fairfax County.
Commonwealth Assistant Attorney Bryan Porter opened the preliminary hearing Wednesday in Alexandria’s General District Court saying alleged shooter Kashif Bashir “intentionally and maliciously” shot Laboy in the head, leaving him injured and bleeding.
- See 'Remarkable' Officer Laboy Is Alive Following Shooting
Porter is a former officer with the Metro Transit Police and Alexandria Police Department. The case before Alexandria General District Court Judge Becky J. Moore was outlined to persuade her to allow prosecutors to move the case forward.
Prosecutors said they would seek an indictment May 20, according to The Washington Post.
The events leading up to Bashir’s arrest began earlier in the day, when police responded to a call of disorderly conduct made by an employee of a boutique in the 100 block of S. St. Asaph Street, testified officer Frank Powers, who responded to that scene.
The employee was “teary, shaken and scared,” he said, when she pointed out the large, front window of the shop and said, “There he is, that’s him,” in a yellow, Alexandria Yellow Cab minivan, Powers testified.
Powers, a 23-year veteran of the police force, said he attempted to pull the driver over three times by using a loud voice and hand gestures but said the driver did not yield.
Powers said the driver, whom police later identified as Bashir, a 23-year-old Woodbridge resident, looked at him with no response, “like he was looking right through me” and into the shop window from his cab.
During cross-examination, Powers said he had only seen the driver for two to three minutes that day. He put out a call for a suspicious vehicle and lost sight of the cab.
He went into his car, began speaking via radio with Laboy, who was patrolling the Old Town area, and also contacted the hack inspector to obtain more information on the cab driver, Powers said.
Powers said he drove to Wolfe and Royal streets, where he saw mail deliverer Paul Luong waving his arms.
Luong testified that he heard a “pop sound” and saw a motorcycle lying on the ground. He ran toward it while dialing 911. He saw a yellow taxi minivan in the 600 block of Wilkes Street traveling toward Washington Street, he said.
Concurrently, Powers saw Laboy and his motorcycle lying on the ground.
“I could tell he was seriously injured,” Powers said, noting that Laboy was wearing a motorcycle helmet. He described a “waterfall of blood” spouting out of Laboy’s head.
No evidence was presented that explained why Laboy was shot.
Fire personnel then arrived on the scene, Powers said, and he told Laboy he would take his gun belt off, which still had a firearm in its holster, he said.
Alexandria City Public Schools first-grade teacher Erin Gagnon said around 11:45 a.m., she saw the incident while taking her class to the Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy playground.
She said she saw a police officer on a motorcycle with its lights on when she heard a gunshot and “saw the head go back,” she testified.
“I said ‘Run’ to the students,” she said, ushering them quickly inside.
Gagnon said Laboy had approached the intersection and stopped, but she heard a gunshot before he dismounted his motorcycle. She did not hear a siren, she said.
“All I heard was the shouts of the children and myself running,” she said.
Lead crime scene investigator inspector Anton Keith with the Alexandria Police Department said he found a projectile fragment at the scene that could be linked to a gun later found in Bashir's cab.
Meanwhile, when calls came into police headquarters of an officer down, detective Kevin Thomas jumped into his unmarked car parked at 3600 Wheeler Ave., heading toward Old Town.
When he got to Franklin Street, he observed Alexandria Yellow Cab number 168 driving toward him. He turned and followed the cab, sounding a horn and flashing his lights.
The cab ran through a red light, made a left onto South Washington Street and exited the city onto George Washington Parkway “at a high rate of speed,” with Thomas following him, he said.
Thomas said a marked police vehicle eventually caught up with his car, following the driver. He said the cab driver made a turn onto Vernon View Drive, which turns into Fort Hunt Road.
A number of civilian vehicles pulled over to the side of the road while the pursuit continued, he said, and there was a large amount of dust in the air.
Fairfax County patrol officer Mark Yawornicky was in the Hybla Valley area, he said, when he heard of the pursuit. He saw the minivan coming down the parkway behind him.
He testified it passed him on the right at more than 80 mph. He chased the vehicle for more than a mile. It crashed into a guard rail.
Yawornicky said he stopped his police cruiser about 10 feet from the cab, which was heavily damaged, stepped out of his car and drew his pistol.
“I pointed my weapon and told him to put his hands up,” he said, but the driver turned toward the driver’s-side door, and Yawornicky said he was concerned the driver might run.
“I ran in front of the vehicle, but the driver had gotten out. He raised his right arm and put his left arm down, Yawornicky said.
Yawornicky then pushed the man, later identified as Bashir, to the ground as an Alexandria police officer arrived and handcuffed Bashir.
Yawornicky went to aid a driver whose car had been hit by the cab at the end of the chase.
Prosecutors asked Yawornicky if he recognized the person driving the cab as in the room, and Yawornicky pointed to Bashir, who was dressed in a green prison jumpsuit and while listening remained largely without showing emotion during the testimony.
A crime scene investigator at the crash scene said he saw beer, an iPod and a gun in the cab’s passenger seat.