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Las Vegas cop shot by protester is paralyzed and on a ventilator

Edgar Samaniego. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department/Released)
June 20, 2020

A protestor who was rioting against alleged racial injustice in the United States shot a white police officer who is now paralyzed from the neck down.

Edgar Samaniego, 20, joined a riot on June 1 sparked from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis one week earlier. During the riot, Samaniego shot officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, in the head. Mikalonis is on a ventilator and is unable to speak, according to a tweet from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Dispatch Twitter account.

“Sharing with permission from Officer Mikalonis’s family. Since so many of our community is supporting Shay we wanted to provide an update as of June 12th, after the fundraiser held for him. He feels your prayers and positive thoughts. #PrayforShay,” the LVMPD Dispatch wrote on Twitter.

“Again, our family can never express our gratitude for all the support for Shay,” the family statement said. “We are always Las Vegas Strong and so proud of our community.”

Mikalonis has been tentatively accepted at a spine rehabilitation center, CBS reported.

According to court documents, Samaniego is captured on video shooting Mikalonis as he was attempting to make an arrest during the riot. Samaniego has been charged with attempted murder, battery and firearms charges and is being held on a bond of $1 million.

During a June 5 court hearing, a judge who reviewed evidence said that police video shows Samaniego “walking by, taking out a gun and firing … at officers.”

According to his 17-year-old girlfriend, Samaniego fired at least three rounds, despite telling police officers he shot once in order to quell the riots. When asked if he intended to shoot an officer, Samaniego said he didn’t know there were police officers at the scene and that he had a bad eye and could not see far.

A surveillance video “clearly refutes his statements that he didn’t [intend] to harm anyone,” police said in their arrest report.

Scott Coffee, an appointed public defender, said that Samaniego will plead not guilty. Samaniego, who has a criminal history, is being held without bail for violating terms of separate charges for driving drunk and possessing illegal drugs.

On May 29 alone, more than 80 rioters were arrested and at least 12 Las Vegas police officers suffered injuries.