weather icon Clear

Suspect in shooting of Las Vegas officer held without bail

Updated June 3, 2020 - 11:28 am

A 20-year-old man charged with shooting and gravely wounding a Las Vegas police officer outside Circus Circus near the end of a Black Lives Matter protest was ordered held without bail Wednesday morning.

Metropolitan Police Department officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, a four-year veteran of the force, suffered a single gunshot wound to his head late Monday night.

Authorities have said Edgar Samaniego fired the shot from 50 feet away as Mikalonis was handcuffing an individual.

Mikalonis, a 2008 graduate of Arbor View High School, was listed in “extremely critical condition” at University Medical Center late Tuesday, suffering from a severe head and spinal injury, police said.

In setting his bail, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure cited a potential danger to the community and a danger to law enforcement. Samaniego was ordered to return to court Friday.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said after the hearing that the shooting “deserves special attention” and was careful to distinguish the attack from ongoing peaceful protests.

“The way I view this is the fact that a protest was occurring at a time is almost incidental to this defendant’s behavior,” Wolfson said after the hearing. “Obviously, he’s presumed innocent. We have a process in our criminal justice system that requires us to prove our case. But his behavior, aside from whatever protest was going on, was such that we intend to bring charges that are appropriate.”

Samaniego, who is being held at the Clark County Detention Center, faces one count of attempted murder of a police officer with a deadly weapon and two counts of discharging a gun where a person might be endangered, according to court records.

Marshals walked Samaniego into court on Wednesday morning as he wore a dark blue jail jumpsuit and a light blue disposable mask.

Prosecutors played video of the shooting for the judge, and argued that Samaniego was a danger to the large crowds that have gathered during the recent protests.

“Not only officers are at risk, but all of the other individuals who are out there peacefully protesting, they’re at risk,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci said. “And if he were to get out, the state’s concern is that something like this could happen again.”

The video showed Samaniego walking away from Las Vegas Boulevard, turning over his left shoulder and reaching for what appeared to be a gun before Mikalonis was shot, the prosecutor said. Police later found cartridges that matched Samaniego’s weapon at the scene and on the balcony of a nearby Travelodge.

Deputy Public Defender Scott Coffee asked the judge to set bail at $100,000 and told the judge that Samaniego was born and raised in Las Vegas. Several of his family members, including his mother, brother, grandmother, aunt and cousin, were seated in the back of the courtroom.

It was one of two shootings that occurred late Monday as police dispersed protesters from downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.

In a separate incident, officers shot and killed an armed man Monday night near the Lloyd George U.S Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South. He was later identified as Jorge Gomez, 25.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Arrests Made In Murder Investigation
Nickolas Vonalst, Monika Gonzalez, and a juvenile were arrested following a murder investigation that began on June 23rd, 2020. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/YouTube)
The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a homicide
The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a homicide at the area of East Flamingo Road and Palos Verde Street on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Police investigate officer-involved shooting in northern Las Vegas - Video
An individual who police say was brandishing a sword was shot and injured by Las Vegas police, prompting a barricade situation in the central Las Vegas Valley on Monday, June 23. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman steals truck, fires at officer - Video
Shanita Hearns, 34, of Las Vegas shot at Henderson Police officers after stealing a truck from a gas station at Horizon Drive and Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson on May 31. She was eventually arrested near Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard after Nevada Highway Patrol officers jumped a median to ram into the side of the truck. (Henderson Police Department)
Mobbed Up - Part Five teaser
A look at some of the interesting reminders of a mob life in the home of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, featured on the fifth episode of the Mobbed Up podcast. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shootings during Las Vegas protest leave 1 dead, officer in critical condition
A Las Vegas police officer was shot and critically injured Monday night. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police briefing on shooting during Black Lives Matter protest
Sheriff Joe Lombardo briefs the media on shootings during the Black Lives Matter protest that left one man dead and a Metro officer in critical condition on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Customer reacts to store looting
Longtime customer Najja Hashim talks about the looting of a neighborhood convenience store. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search continues for homicide suspects - Video
In October 2017, 62-year-old David Rathbun was reported missing by family members and later found deceased in Arizona. The Las Vegas police homicide section is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 55-year-old Charles Ausiello and 45-year-old Jolene Hibbs who are suspects in Rathbun’s death. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two men were stabbed Thursday morning at a central Las Vegas home - Video
Two men were stabbed at a central Las Vegas home, Thursday morning, May 21, leaving both with life-threatening injuries. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Cellphone tower destroyed In Nye County - Video
The Nye County Sheriff's Office is investigating a cellphone tower being destroyed in Pahrump. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Shots Fired in Downtown Las Vegas
Police reported that they were investigating a shooting in which a suspect fired a weapon at officers on Fremont Street on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Police briefing on officer-involved shooting northeast of Las Vegas - VIDEO
Metro Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter gives a briefing from the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Apex Road and Interstate 15, northeast of Las Vegas, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police ID man killed in officer-involved shooting - VIDEO
A 24-year-old man with a sawed-off shotgun was shot dead by Las Vegas police in front of a red car the man allegedly tried to steal toward the end of car a chase Tuesday with speeds of more than 100 mph through multiple areas of the valley. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide
Las Vegas police are investigating a homicide after a man was found deceased in the parking lot of a strip mall at 9640 W. Tropicana Ave. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Homicide briefing
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate homicide
Las Vegas police investigate a homicide in southwest Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate officer-involved shooting in east valley - VIDEO
Las Vegas police on Tuesday were investigating an officer-involved shooting in the east valley. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye county detective returns home from hospital - VIDEO
A Nye County Sheriff’s Office detective who was shot in March was released from the hospital Wednesday and is recovering at home with family. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Metro officer arrested for allegedly stealing from K-9 charity
An officer with the Metropolitan Police Department for more than two decades was arrested by the agency on Friday and booked into jail on suspicion of stealing thousands of dollars from a Las Vegas police foundation.
Nevada high court weighs murder charges in DUIs

The Nevada Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned why prosecutors in Las Vegas have decided to charge some DUI suspects with murder, evoking commentary on whether race and wealth played a role.