Shay Mikalnois: Las Vegas cop shot in head during protests is paralyzed from neck down and unable to speak
Mikalonis was shot as he was trying to disperse a large crowd of protesters on June 1 and may never walk again
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer who was critically injured after he was shot in the head during a night of protests over the Memorial Day death of George Floyd is paralyzed from the neck down, on a ventilator, and unable to speak, his family said.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that the officer, identified as Shay Kellin Mikalonis, had been shot while he had been trying to disperse a large crowd of protesters in front of the Circus Circus Hotel & Casino just after 11 pm on Monday, June 1.
Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said the crowd was throwing bottles and rocks at them and that Mikalonis went down after a shot rang out while some of the protesters were being taken into custody. A witness at the scene said the officer had been in a struggle with a protester when another person walked up and shot him in the back of the head.
This past week, Mikalonis' family released a statement on Twitter via the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and said that he was currently on a ventilator and "will remain so."
"He is also paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak," they said. "Shay is awake and seems to recognize his family members. We can't thank the staff of caring professionals at UMC for getting him this far, truly a miracle!"
The family also confirmed that Mikalonis had been tentatively accepted into "one of the best spine rehabilitation centers in the country," before adding, "Again, our family can never express our gratitude for all the support for Shay. We are always Las Vegas Strong and so proud of our community."
Many social media users expressed their sympathy towards the officers and said they were praying for his recovery.
"I pray for a miracle for Shay. No one deserves what this young man had happen to him. I also pray for grace for the family to endure what they will have to endure to get through this," one wrote.
"Our prayers and sympathy go out to his family as well as his Brothers in Blue. Our hope is he will return to a quality of life that he may return home to his family. God Bless and protect you all," a second said.
"God bless Shay and his family. Give them all strength to fight and peace as he recuperates. God grant them the wisdom to make decisions and protect his future. Amen," another posted.
Prosecutors have charged 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego with deliberately shooting Mikalonis during the protest and a judge who reviewed evidence at a June 5 hearing said a police video showed him "walking by, taking out a gun and firing... at officers."
Samaniego has been charged with attempted murder, battery and firearms charges and is being held in lieu of $1 million. He 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 CBS News.
Scott Coffee, his appointed public defender, said that his client will plead not guilty.