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Las Vegas police officer gravely wounded at protest returns home

Updated April 12, 2021 - 8:44 am

A Las Vegas police officer who was shot at the conclusion of a 2020 demonstration on the Strip has returned home following a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation center.

“It is good to get him home,” said Shay Mikalonis’ uncle, Frank Mikalonis.

The 30-year-old officer was critically wounded June 1 at the end of a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Shay Mikalonis is paralyzed from the neck down, requires 24-hour care and breathes with the assistance of a ventilator. He spent months at a rehabilitation center that his family has declined to name, but his medical condition has since stabilized, and he can speak.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Thursday that Shay Mikalonis recently attended a police briefing with his former co-workers in the Metropolitan Police Department’s convention center area command.

“It was a good opportunity for him to say hi to the troops,” Lombardo said.

The man arrested in the shooting, Edgar Samaniego, 20, of Las Vegas, is charged with attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon.

Authorities have said Samaniego, who was staying at a nearby Travelodge, was not participating in the demonstration prior to the shooting.

Video surveillance showed Samaniego walking away from Las Vegas Boulevard and reaching for what appeared to be a gun before aiming over his left shoulder toward Shay Mikalonis and other officers who were detaining some protesters at the time.

Samaniego would later claim he was attempting to scare the protesters into leaving and was unaware that police were present, a prosecutor said in June.

Lombardo said Las Vegas officers and the community have been relentless in their support of Shay Mikalonis.

“There’s a large concern for his well-being,” the sheriff said. “Hopefully everybody coming together, providing prayers to his situation, will be a benefit to him.”

Frank Mikalonis said the encouragement from Las Vegas Valley residents for his nephew has been overwhelming.

“The family has been so appreciative of the support of the Vegas community,” Frank Mikalonis said. “From the police officers to the community of Las Vegas as a whole, the community has been tremendous. A lot has happened, but the support has not been forgotten.”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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