Officer Peter Laboy’s life changed instantaneously and forever on February 27, 2013. The Alexandria (Va.) officer had heeded a radio call to look out for a yellow cab van, spotted the suspect vehicle, and attempted to make a traffic stop.
He was immediately shot in the head by the cab driver. Laboy was flown to MedStar Hospital, a trauma center in Washington, D. C.
He had suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
Upon hearing the news and Laboy’s critical condition following the shooting, his colleagues thought they would be preparing to attend a funeral. However, Laboy remains alive today, and his survival is a miracle.
He has been nicknamed “Superman” — his favorite character hero.
“Officer Laboy had a one in a million chance of recovery,” said MedStar Chief Medical Officer Janet Orlowski.
“Take one look at his four children. You talk about a will to live, you take one look at those beautiful four boys he has. He has every reason to live. I’ve been at this for 27 years. I have to tell you, this is one for the books. It really is,” Orlowski added.
Despite his injury, Laboy is able to open his eyes and recognize his wife and four children.
Laboy, a 17-year veteran of the police department, is a member of the Motor Squad, and he is known as “Motor 8.” Laboy has been a detective, a crash investigator and is a member of the Hostage Negotiation Team.
He’s well known in the city and a highly respected police officer. He has dedicated a great deal of his time to the city both on and off duty and has done volunteer work at the schools.
“Peter is the type of officer that others strive to be — professional, intelligent, and dedicated. He is the consummate public servant,” Deputy Chief Blaine Corle said.
“Officer Laboy has many friends on our department. A number of my officers attended the academy with him years ago and, of course, all the motor squads are very close friends with each other. Several of our motor squad officers worked traffic in Alexandria for quite a while to support controlling the area around where the shooting occurred,” Arlington County Police Chief Douglas Scott said.
“Anytime an officer is killed or seriously injured anywhere in the country it feels like it is happening to someone we know even when we don’t know them. When it happens to an officer you actually know or to an officer from an agency that you regularly work side by side with, the impact is even more devastating.”
The outpouring of support from the community has been tremendous. A fundraiser was recently held at a city restaurant on a Sunday afternoon. Two thousand people showed up, waited in line for as long as two hours, and $80,000 was raised for the Laboy family.
“It is hard for any of us who have that brotherly bond with Peter to see him go through this. However, I must say, if one had to find the silver lining to all of this, it would be that it brings out the loyalty and the love and the brotherhood bond that exists so strongly within the Alexandria Police Department.
"It is a truly special bond, and I know that any active or former Alexandria Police officer is pained to see Peter and his family go through this. We all hope that they can take some comfort in knowing that we would do literally anything for them,” Burke Brownfield, a former Alexandria police officer, said.
“Peter is kind of a cop’s cop. He loved the job. He worked diligently,” Chief Earl Cook said.
Laboy’s wife is a nurse and has been by his side daily since the incident occurred. “She is the world to him and so are his children,” Lt. Milner said.
“What a spectacular day it was when Peter was released to the MedStar National Rehabilitation network just two weeks after sustaining a life threatening injury. His story is amazing testimony to the power of collective prayer, the love of family and friends, and to Peter’s courage, determination, inner strength and unstoppable will,” Retired Alexandria Police Chief David Baker, said.
Officer Laboy now faces the biggest challenge of his life.
“The medical professionals are calling him a miracle. I call him my husband who is a fighter and loves a challenge. I’ve been told by people who wouldn’t expect anything less than that from him. I’ve been told by others that I am doing exactly as I should be…with him, strong, holding him tight, pushing him harder, getting him closer to him,” Suzanne Laboy said.