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Witnesses testify in shooting of Alexandria officer
A grand jury will consider evidence next month in the case of a taxicab driver charged with shooting an Alexandria police officer in the head, after nearly a dozen witnesses testified in an Alexandria courtroom Wednesday, weaving together the narrative of the violent encounter and the ensuing high-speed chase.
But prosecutors did not offer a motive for the shooting during the nearly four-hour preliminary hearing. The defendant, Kashif Bashir, 27, of Woodbridge, Va., remained stoic, his brown eyes downcast or looking directly at the witness stand as he listened to bystanders and first-responders recall what they saw.
“I could tell he was severely injured,” said Alexandria Officer Francis Powers, who was first to arrive at the scene in Old Town, where Officer Peter Laboy was shot. “There was a waterfall of blood coming down his face.”
Police reports state that at about 11:44 a.m. Feb. 27, Officer Laboy, a 17-year veteran of the police force, responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Wilkes and South St. Asaph streets, blocks from the bustling heart of Old Town Alexandria. Officer Laboy, 45, was on his motorcycle, while Mr. Bashir, police said, was behind the wheel of his Alexandria Yellow Cab minivan.
Shortly before the incident, Officer Powers arrived at a business in the 100 block of St. Asaph Street, where the owner said she saw a man acting suspiciously. She directed Officer Powers to look outside, where he saw Mr. Bashir double-parked and staring into the store. He attempted three times to get Mr. Bashir to pull over, but the cab driver drove off.
The officer radioed for backup, and Officer Laboy was the first to respond.
Exactly what happened in the few minutes that followed was not revealed during Wednesday’s hearing, but the confrontation left Officer Laboy lying on the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head and Mr. Bashir speeding south toward the border between Alexandria and Fairfax County.
First-grade teacher Erin Gagnon told the court she was outside for recess at the Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy when she saw Officer Laboy stop his motorcycle along the same block as the school.
“I heard a gun when he dismounted,” she said. “I saw his head slightly go back and he fell forward to the ground. I yelled ‘run’ to my students to get inside as soon as possible.”
While emergency responders worked to keep Officer Laboy alive, other police officers testified that they followed the taxicab nearly to Mount Vernon, watching it weave in and out of traffic before careening into another vehicle and coming to a stop.
When officers got Mr. Bashir out of the car, they found a loaded semiautomatic handgun and several cans of beer in the car, at least one of them empty.
Mr. Bashir, a native of Pakistan, was charged with malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer and use of a firearm. He has been held without bond since his arrest.
Relatives of Mr. Bashir and Officer Laboy sat in the crowded courtroom but left the courthouse without comment. Prosecutors did not say whether Mr. Bashir was drunk, but they left open the possibility that Officer Laboy could testify if the case went to trial.
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About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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