A Las Vegas police officer gravely wounded during a protest on the Strip continued to fight for his life Wednesday after undergoing successful surgery to remove a bullet from his neck, according to the police union president.
Metropolitan Police Department officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, was shot Monday at the end of a Black Lives Matter protest in front of Circus Circus. Police said he was shot in the head, causing a spinal injury.
Las Vegas Police Protective Association Union President Steve Grammas said Wednesday morning that Mikalonis remained in critical condition but there was some encouraging news.
“They successfully removed the bullet from his neck,” Grammas said. “His blood pressure is getting better. He is still alive and he is fighting.”
Support at UMC
Meanwhile, there has been a significant outpouring of support for Mikalonis from the community. Citizens held a vigil Tuesday night in front of the hospital. People also have showed up at the hospital to donate food and supplies to police.
John Ynigues, owner of Grouchy John’s Coffee, brought a van to University Medical Center on Wednesday morning and was making free frappes, cappuccino and other coffee drinks for officers.
“We are here to support the officers who have been out and about all night,” Ynigues said. “Trying to provide support.”
Others showed up at the hospital Wednesday morning with water and food. People have also taken to social media to voice their support for Mikalonis under the terms Pray For Shay and Metro Strong.
The protest that led to Mikalonis’ shooting was peaceful for hours. It was the fourth day of demonstrations in the city protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd, who died last week after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the handcuffed man’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder. He now faces an additional charge of second-degree murder, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday.
Las Vegas marches began Friday
Demonstrations in the Las Vegas Valley started Friday afternoon on the Strip. The protests have since been held in downtown Las Vegas and the UNLV area. From Saturday to Monday night, police used tear gas and less-than-lethal bullets on protesters, some of whom threw water bottles and rocks at officers.
On Monday night, police allege, 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego shot Mikalonis from 50 feet away as the officer was handcuffing someone in a crowd of protesters in front of Circus Circus.
Mikalonis is a 2008 graduate of Arbor View High School and four-year veteran of the police force.
Samaniego, who was ordered held without bail during a brief court appearance Wednesday, 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.
He remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center and faces his next court hearing Friday.
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.