Las Vegas police officer shot during protest is paralyzed, suspect charged with attempted murder

A Las Vegas police officer named Shay Mikalonis was shot during a protest earlier this month is paralyzed from the neck down. Over the weekend his family released a statement saying, “Shay is on a ventilator and will remains so. He is also paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak.” Here’s the full statement which was published on Twitter.

A 20-year-old man has been charged in the shooting.

Prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old man with deliberately shooting Mikalonis during the protest, one of hundreds being held across the nation. A judge who reviewed evidence at June 5 court hearing said that police video shows Edgar Samaniego “walking by, taking out a gun and firing … at officers.”

He is charged with attempted murder, battery and firearms charges and is being held in lieu of $1 million. An appointed public defender, Scott Coffee, said after the hearing that Samaniego will plead not guilty. Samaniego also is being held without bail on accusations that he violated the terms of release on separate misdemeanor driving under the influence and illegal drug possession charges.

According to the arrest report, Samaniego was not part of the protest group but was staying in a nearby hotel with a teenage girl (17-years-old). He went for a walk and saw police arresting protesters across the street. He pulled out a gun, fired one shot and then put the gun away and kept walking. As you can see in this surveillance video clip, he looks almost casual before and after the shooting.

As for the motive here, that’s still not completely clear. During police questioning, Samaniego initially claimed he’d been in his room the entire time. Once police revealed that he’d been seen firing a shot on surveillance video and that it had been seen by an witness, he changed his story and claimed he’d fired a shot to “scare” protesters into leaving the area. He also claimed he had “bad eye sight” and didn’t realize there were police making arrests standing exactly where he had turned and fired. He then claimed he didn’t know what had happened to the gun used in the shooting. Police executed a search warrant and found it under the mattress in his room.

Samaniego seems to be offering a series of modified limited hangouts about what he did that day, each time offering as little information as he can and hoping police can’t prove him wrong. I don’t buy his story that he turned and fired randomly at protesters and neither does the prosecutor. He is being charged with intentionally attempting to murder a police officer. But for now you’ll have to intuit his motive from his actions because he’s obviously not going to tell the truth.

Here’s a local news report on Samaniego’s bail hearing and the police report.