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Wounded police officer Shay Mikalonis moving to spinal cord center

Updated July 1, 2020 - 5:55 pm

Wounded Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis was transferred to an out-of-state medical facility Wednesday morning for treatment of a severe spinal cord injury, his family said.

A procession of police cruisers, motorcycles and Clark County Fire Department vehicles escorted an ambulance carrying Mikalonis, 29, from University Medical Center beginning just after 7 a.m. The procession slowly proceeded to the intersection of South Giles Street and East Reno Avenue before heading to McCarran International Airport, as more than 100 officers and first responders lined the streets, many of them saluting Mikalonis.

“I thought it was important to show support for Officer Shay and his family as he starts a new journey and chapter in his life,” said Las Vegas police employee Nakia Jackson-Hale as she stood along Giles Street with her sons, Jackson, 10, and Brayden, 9.

Mikalonis was shot in the head at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter protest June 1 on the Las Vegas Strip. He is paralyzed from the neck down.

The officer was to be flown from McCarran to an undisclosed facility specializing in treatment of spinal cord injuries. Mikalonis’ uncle, Frank Mikalonis, told the Review-Journal the family is not disclosing the name of the facility.

“We’ve been waiting for him to get stabilized medically,” Frank Mikalonis said. “He had a fever that was spiking, but he has since stabilized.”

Frank Mikalonis said late Tuesday that the expressions of community support through fundraisers and donations have been overwhelming. The fundraisers have contributed a sizable amount of money for the family to attend to Shay’s medical needs. If the money is not needed, Frank Mikalonis said, it will be returned.

“The community support has continued and we are very thankful for it,” Frank Mikalonis said. “There is a long road ahead.”

Jackson-Hale said watching the procession of law enforcement and first responders drive by was a very emotional experience for her as she contemplated the grave injuries Mikalonis suffered and the tumult facing the nation.

“I hope we can all come to the table and come up with some solutions to move forward in a more positive way,” she said.

A 20-year-old suspect, Edgar Samaniego, is facing attempted murder and other charges in the case.

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

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