Vegas officer shot at protest heads to spinal cord center

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A police officer who was shot in the head during a Las Vegas Strip protest of the death of George Floyd departed Wednesday for an out-of-state medical facility.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a procession of police and fire vehicles escorted an ambulance taking officer Shay Mikalonis to the McCarran International Airport. Hundreds of officers also lined the streets to see him off. Mikalonis is heading to an undisclosed facility that specializes in spinal cord injuries.

Mikalonis, 29, was shot June 1 during protests over the death of Floyd at the hands of police. He is paralyzed from the neck down, on a ventilator and unable to speak, according to a family statement released by police.

Prosecutors have charged 20-year-old Edgar Samaniego with deliberately shooting Mikalonis during the protest, one of hundreds being held across the nation. A judge who reviewed evidence at June 5 court hearing said that police video shows Samaniego “walking by, taking out a gun and firing ... at officers.”

He is charged with attempted murder, battery and firearms charges and is being held in lieu of $1 million. An appointed public defender, Scott Coffee, said Samaniego will plead not guilty. Samaniego also is being held without bail on accusations that he violated the terms of release on separate misdemeanor driving under the influence and illegal drug possession charges.