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Suspect in shooting of Las Vegas police officer is 20-year-old man

Updated June 2, 2020 - 4:56 pm

A man suspected of shooting a Las Vegas police officer late Monday at the tail end of a Black Lives Matter protest has been identified as 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego.

He 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 and jail records. Samaniego is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center, and his initial court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Las Vegas Justice Court.

The officer, identified by the Metropolitan Police Department as 29-year-old Shay Mikalonis, remained in critical condition on life support Tuesday afternoon at University Medical Center. The officer joined Metro in 2016 and is assigned to the department’s Convention Center area command.

The shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday outside Circus Circus as a melee erupted following the fourth night of protests against police brutality. The recent protests in Las Vegas were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died last week in Minneapolis while in police custody.

According to Metro, a man fired a handgun at a group of officers from across the street, striking Mikalonis. Video surveillance in the area showed the gunman opening fire as he walked down the street.

Samaniego was taken into custody by SWAT officers within the hour at Travelodge by Wyndham, a nearby motel at 2830 Las Vegas Blvd. South, according to Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer.

According to court records, Samaniego also was arrested in April on charges of possession of a dangerous drug without a prescription and misdemeanor DUI. He had been out of custody since posting bond on April 2, and a criminal complaint in the drug case had not been filed as of Tuesday, according to the records.

Around the same time the officer was shot, according to police call logs, another shooting was reported several miles northeast, near the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, on the 300 block of Las Vegas Boulevard South.

Officers had encountered a man “who was armed with multiple firearms and appeared to be wearing body armor,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said. Officers opened fire after the man had apparently reached for a firearm.

Lombardo could not immediately confirm whether the man shot by police was involved in the protest but said the location of the shooting “would lead one to believe that he was.”

The shootings came after hours of peaceful protests that started about 7 p.m. on the Strip and had moved downtown by 10 p.m. Most in the crowd of hundreds began dispersing after 11 p.m.

In a tweet posted Tuesday to the Twitter account of the Las Vegas chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, the chapter said the actions of the accused shooter and the man who was shot and killed by police do “NOT represent the values our movement stands for. We come in peace.”

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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