Las Vegas, NV – The Las Vegas Metro police officer who was shot in the back of the head by a rioter on Monday night remains hospitalized in “grave condition,” according to his department.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) Officer Shay Mikalonis was attempting to arrest a suspect outside Circus Circus on the Las Vegas Strip during the Black Lives Matter protest at approximately 11 p.m. when a gunman fired a single round from across the street, hitting him in the head, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Rioters were attacking police with rocks and other objects when the assassination attempt occurred, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a press conference early Tuesday morning, according to KTNV.
“Last night as officers were attempting to disperse a large crowd of protesters in front of the Circus Circus, our officers were taking rocks and bottles from the crowd,” the sheriff explained, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Officers were attempting to get some of the protesters in custody when a shot rang out. Our officer went down.”
Officer Mikalonis was rushed to University Medical Center “in extremely critical condition,” where he remains on life support, Sheriff Lombardo said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
According to a police source, the bullet caused the officer to suffer major spinal and head injuries.
K9 and SWAT officers swarmed the area and were able to apprehend the alleged shooter, who has since been identified as 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego, KTNV reported.
LVMPD detectives used video surveillance of the shooting to track Samaniego to a motel located across the street from the scene.
He has since been booked into the Clark County Detention Center on two counts of unlawful discharging of a firearm and attempted murder on a police officer, KTNV reported.
Officer Mikalonis, a Las Vegas native, graduated from Arbor View High School in 2008, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He has been with LVMPD for four years.
Las Vegas Police Protective Association (PPA) President Steve Grammas said that Officer Mikalonis is “one of the really good ones,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“[He’s] a great cop and a great person…We should have more people like him,” Grammas said. “I talked to some of his partners — nothing but the highest regard for him and what type of person he is. Very caring…His mom, stepdad and brother all had great things to say about him.”
Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, a retired LVMPD captain, said that the violent uprisings must be stopped immediately.
“This has to stop today,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Violent thugs do not control our community. Implement a curfew. Call out the national guard – police need help. Arrest all violent rioters immediately. No bail. Law and order.”
Hundreds of rioters have been arrested and over 25 law enforcement officers have been injured in the Las Vegas area over the course of the past several days, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak visited the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and was heard speaking with officers outside the building, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“We appreciate everything you do,” he told them.
The night before, after President Donald Trump called on governors to establish an “overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Sisolak accused the President of “inciting combativeness, stoking racial tensions and creating division,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The governor also refused to deploy the Nevada National Guard on Monday night ahead of the shooting.
The rioting comes after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of 46-year-old George Floyd.
Officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.
After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.
Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.
According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The charging documents state, “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”