Las Vegas Alleged Cop Shooter Says He Fired Gun to ‘Scare’ Protesters, Bail Set at $1M

Posted on: June 5, 2020, 07:04h. 

Last updated on: June 6, 2020, 04:23h.

Bail for Edgar Samaniego, 20, of Las Vegas, accused of trying to murder a Metropolitan police officer at a protest near Circus Circus Hotel & Casino late Monday, was set at $1 million during a Friday Las Vegas Justice Court appearance.

Alleged police shooter in court
Edgar Samaniego (center) stands with his attorneys, Scott Coffee, right, and Conor Slife during a Las Vegas court appearance Friday on charges that he allegedly attempted to murder a Metro police officer. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A recently released arrest report reveals Samaniego said he fired the gun to scare off protesters and claims he has “bad eyesight.” He further claimed he went to the area to have sex at a nearby motel.

Justice of the Peace Melanie Andrea-Tobiasson set the bail at what was recommended by prosecutors. On Wednesday, another justice of the peace, Joe Bonaventure, had ordered Samaniego held without bail. A defense attorney tried to get the bail set at $100,000.

As of Friday, Samaniego was being held in Clark County Detention Center. He had not posted bond.

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Scott Coffee, who is a past president of Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice, said Samaniego will plead not guilty to attempted murder and other charges, according to the Associated Press.

The wounded officer, Shay Mikalonis, age 29, remains in critical condition Friday at University Medical Center after undergoing surgery earlier this week to remove a bullet.

The shooting took place as Mikalonis and several other officers were outside Circus Circus to arrest unruly protesters during the end of a Black Lives Matter-organized demonstration.

An arrest report posted online by KSNV TV, a Las Vegas station, provided new details on the shooting.

A still unreleased video taken by a surveillance camera at the Travelodge, located near Circus Circus, was described in the arrest report.

A Hispanic or Asian man was seen on the video. He was wearing a white t shirt and jeans.

He was walking west on Circus Circus Drive from Las Vegas Boulevard. He looked over his left shoulder, pulled an object out of the right side of his pants, turned, aimed, and fired in the direction of officers.

He continued to walk west and put the gun back into the right side of his pants. He then went into an upstairs room at the Travelodge.

A Las Vegas SWAT unit responded to the motel that night. During a search of the upstairs landing, officers found two 9 mm cartridge cases. A third 9 mm cartridge case was located at the scene of shooting.

At about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, a man wearing a white t shirt and jeans was seen coming out of a Travelodge room with 17-year-old girl. Officers had seen the same man a short time earlier at the motel.

The unnamed girlfriend told police the man had told her earlier that night that he shot someone.

A security officer at the motel, who was an estimated 10 feet away from the shooting, also identified the man as the suspect. The suspect was identified by police as Samaniego.

Samaniego Claims Was at Motel to Have Sex

At Metro headquarters, Samaniego told police he went to the Travelodge because his mother did not like him to have sex at her house. Initially, Samaniego also claimed he was in the motel room all night with the girl.

At one point, while talking to police, he admitted to firing a gun Monday night. But he claimed to have been trying apparently to keep the peace.

Samaniego said there were a lot of people causing problems with the protest and he was just trying to scare them off into leaving,” the arrest report recounted Samaniego’s version of events.

Samaniego additionally claimed he did not even know the police were there that night. He further claimed, “he had bad eyesight and that he can’t see very far,” the arrest report said.

Police got a warrant that night to search the motel room where Samaniego was staying. A Glock 19 was found under the mattress.

The gun still had 9 mm rounds in it. Also, 9 mm cartridges were found in the room’s toilet.

Police said they determined some of what Samaniego told them were lies, and officers concluded there was legal cause to arrest him.

It is clear from the video surveillance of the incident that Samaniego shot officer Shay Mikalonis with the intent to kill him,” the arrest report stated. It was also revealed Samaniego held the gun with both hands and aimed in the direction of Mikalonis.

Samaniego is currently charged with a single count of attempted murder, with the use of a deadly weapon. He is also charged with a count of battery with use of a deadly weapon, resulting in substantial bodily harm, and two counts of discharge of a gun within a prohibited area, according to online Justice Court records.

Police claim he fired two additional shots after he allegedly struck Mikalonis, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. He has other pending charges in an unrelated case. These are driving under the influence and possession of a dangerous drug without a prescription. Bond in that case was revoked on Thursday because of the new charges.

In the arrest report, Samaniego is listed as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighing 130 pounds.

In the attempted murder case, the arresting officer was identified in the police report as Dolphis Boucher. He is a 26-year Metro police department veteran. He is currently a homicide detective.

It was also revealed in the report that upon getting shot, Mikalonis immediately collapsed to the ground. He was wounded in the left side of his face, and the bullet traveled through the spine and was lodged in the right side of his face, based on the initial arrest report.

Officers at the scene treated Mikalonis immediately, and he quickly was transported to University Medical Center. Police also led the unruly suspects to safety.

Fund Set Up for Wounded Officer

The Inured Police Officers Fund (IPOF.Vegas) set up a fund to raise money, all of which will go to assist Mikalonis and his family.

“Shay fights to survive his critical injuries sustained on June 1, 2020 while working the job he loved,” the IPOF said in a statement this week.

Many calls and texts were sent to Mikalonis’s family since the shooting. “Many people have reached out to help. At this time, it is unclear what needs Shay may have in the future,” the statement adds.

IPOF members, like community leaders across Las Vegas, have asked that prayers be recited for Mikalonis as he battles for his life.