Las Vegas officer shot at protest paralyzed from neck down: family
A Las Vegas police officer who was shot in the head during a protest of George Floyd’s death is paralyzed from the neck down, his family says.
Relatives of officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, shared an update on his condition Saturday in a tweet released by police, saying he’s still on a ventilator and “will remain so” as he recovers from the June 1 shooting.
“He is also paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak,” the statement read. “Shay is awake and seems to recognize his family members.”
Mikalonis, a four-year department veteran, has also been accepted into “one of the best” spine rehabilitation centers in the country, but additional details were not disclosed.
“There are many factors that come into play here and I will release the name of the center when the time is right,” the unsigned family statement continued. “We are anticipating that Shay will be moving on in his long journey ahead.”
Mikalonis’ family also thanked staffers at Las Vegas’ University Medical Center, where he was rushed in extremely critical condition after the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Again, our family can never express our gratitude for all the support for Shay,” the statement continued. “We are always Las Vegas Strong and so proud of our community. Please keep Shay in your thoughts and prayers. Shay is still fighting the good fight.”
Mikalonis had undergone two surgeries as of Thursday, including one to remove a bullet from his neck. He also underwent another procedure to repair his shattered jaw, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Mikalonis’ father, meanwhile, was overcome with emotion during a fundraiser held Thursday for his son in the parking lot of an urgent care center.
“This city – it is overwhelming,” Guy Mikalonis told the newspaper. “It’s amazing.”
Suspect Edgar Samaniego, 20, is facing attempted murder, battery and gun charges in the shooting. He told officers he fired the bullet that hit Mikalonis but insisted he was trying to scare protesters and get them to leave, unaware that cops were nearby, according to an arrest report obtained by the newspaper.
Samaniego’s court-appointed attorney said his client intends to plead not guilty.
Samaniego is being held without bail on separate charges of driving under the influence and illegal drug possession. Bail in the shooting was set at $1 million.
A judge said during a June 5 hearing that police video shows him “walking by, taking out a gun and firing … at officers” during the protest.
Cops at the time were trying to take some of the demonstrators into custody when Mikalonis was shot near the Circus Circus hotel-casino as he was arresting a protester, police have said.