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Prosecutors say suspect fired again after shooting Las Vegas officer

Updated June 5, 2020 - 10:53 am

A 20-year-old man accused of shooting Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis apparently fired two more shots after Mikalonis was critically wounded, a prosecutor said Friday.

Edgar Samaniego, who is being held at the Clark County Detention Center, walked west along Circus Circus Drive as he fired the first shot from a Glock 19 handgun that struck Mikalonis in the left cheek late Monday night, according to authorities and court records.

The 29-year-old officer and four-year veteran of the force collapsed as the bullet pierced his spine and lodged into the right side of his face, while Samaniego walked toward a nearby Travelodge hotel, according to prosecutors and video surveillance.

“This individual put at risk not just the police officers, but also the peaceful protesters that are walking by,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci said during the third court hearing in as many days for Samaniego. “This is an individual we cannot have walking the streets.”

Video surveillance of the shooting scene late Monday showed Samaniego walking away from Las Vegas Boulevard, reaching for what appeared to be a gun before aiming over his left shoulder toward Mikalonis, other officers and protesters who were being detained.

Samaniego and Mikalonis were about 50 feet apart as the officer was handcuffing an individual, authorities have said. Mikalonis remained in critical condition Friday.

Police found two more cartridges that matched Samaniego’s weapon on a balcony at the Travelodge, just north of Circus Circus. That balcony faced the casino, and surveillance footage showed police vehicles lined up on the street across from it. But whether those shots were aimed at other people is unclear, prosecutors said.

Possible weapon found

Investigators also located what is believed to be the handgun Samaniego used, tucked under a mattress in a first-floor room where he had been staying with a 17-year-old girl.

Samaniego’s bail was revoked Thursday, when a judge presiding over unrelated DUI and drug charges from April found that the shooting in which he is accused violated a stay-out-of trouble order.

Prosecutors on the attempted murder case Friday asked Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson to set his bail at $1 million. Defense attorneys asked for a $100,000 bail.

The judge sided with prosecutors, calling Samaniego a “danger to the community.” The shooting occurred near culmination of a Black Lives Matter protest.

“This isn’t simply because a police officer was shot, although that is extremely concerning, particularly in light of the atmosphere in the country right now,” Tobiasson said. “It’s extremely troubling that this person goes to work this evening to attempt to keep the peace and winds up gravely injured by someone who clearly wasn’t there to protest.”

During an interview with detectives, Samaniego “admitted to police that he had fired a shot but claimed that he was just trying to scare the protesters into leaving and did not even know police were there,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Thomas Moskal said Thursday during a hearing on the separate DUI case.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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