WASHINGTON (NBC Washington) - An Alexandria police officer shot in the head Feb. 27 is defying the odds with his recovery, doctors said Thursday.
In her 27 years in medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital Center Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janis Orlowski has never seen anything quite like Officer Peter Laboy's recovery so far.
Laboy was shot while making a routine traffic stop of a taxi in Old Town. Some bullet fragments too difficult to remove will remain in his brain.
“This is one in a million,” she said Thursday. “It really is. It’s a phenomenal recovery.”
Doctors at MedStar credit the instant 911 calls for help, the teamwork at the hospital and Laboy's fighting spirit with Thursday’s positive progress report.
Laboy is able to walk and can say a word or two. He is aware of conversations people have with him, Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said, and a recent visit from his sons was a "landmark day" for the family.
His wife, Suzi, has been at Laboy's side through the difficult hours.
In Alexandria, the community came together to raise funds for the family's needs. Cook read a letter from Suzi thanking well-wishers for their support.
“We realize we are not on the journey alone and we are comforted by that,” the letter said.
The long recovery journey is just beginning, doctors said, but Laboy has already been moved out of acute care to the rehab hospital across the street where he will receive treatment for the next 3-12 months.
"What we look forward to is very vigorous rehabilitation, and what I don't know is what the extent of his recovery will be," Orlowski said. "Will he be able to speak fluidly? Not at this time. Perhaps in six months. Will he be able to walk independently? Probably, but we'll have to wait and see over the next three to six months."
The suspected cab driver is in custody.
Those wishing to help the Laboy family can drop off a donation at the Alexandria Police Department (3600 Wheeler Ave.) or send a donation to:
Alexandria Police Association c/o Peter Laboy
P.O. Box 1228
Alexandria, VA 22313
The family also requests that those who want to donate blood on behalf of Laboy call the Washington Hospital Center blood donor service at 866-49-DONOR.
A fundraiser for Laboy will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 21 at TopGolf in Alexandria.