LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Edgar Samaniego, the man who shot and critically wounded a Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer after a Black Lives Matter demonstration nearly two years ago will spend at least 20 years in prison.
Judge Carli Kierny gave the maximum sentence.
Officer Shay Mikalonis and his family were in the courtroom for the sentencing. His father and mother spoke about how the shooting has changed their lives.
“Shay can’t talk, eat, swallow on his own, or breathe. He’s dependent on a ventilator. Without it, he would be dead,” said Guy Mikalonis, father.
Edgar Samaniego avoided going to trial by pleading guilty in Nov. 2021 to shooting Metro Officer Shay Mikalonis in June 2020 leaving the four-year veteran paralyzed from the neck down. Prosecutors did not offer Samaniego any deal for his guilty plea.
Samaniego’s attorney asked the court for some leniency in the sentencing. He said Samaniego pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial and sparing the family and Mikalonis from going through that experience.
Samaniego read a statement in court and said he wished he could trade places with Mikalonis. He said depression, alcohol, and drugs consumed his life and he didn’t even remember the shooting. He told the court he hoped to turn his life around in prison.
When Mikalonis was shot, his family was told to prepare for his death. His mother told the court there is no happiness in Shay’s life, just pain and sadness. He requires the constant care of nurses and family members.
“One shot changed the life of five people. Shay and his family got a life sentence with no parole,” Guy Mikalonis said.
Samaniego was sentenced for attempted murder with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm where a person could be endangered, and two counts of discharging a fire from or inside a structure.
Samaniego was not part of the demonstration. He happened to be staying at a nearby motel and fired into the crowd, hitting Mikalonis.