A police officer is in critical condition on life support after being shot in the head at George Floyd protests in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak have confirmed “two separate incidents” at the Circus Circus Casino and Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas. A police officer was killed in the first incident while another man was killed in the second incident.
The suspect in the Circus Circus Casino shooting has now been identified as Edgar Samaniego, 20. You can read about him here.
The officer has now been identified as Shay Mikalonis, 29.
Police have since identified the man killed in the second incident as 25-year-old Jorge Gomez.
Gomez began to walk towards officers on the steps of the Courthouse, ignoring the order to disperse. He approached and fired several rounds from a shotgun, and then turned towards other officers. He threatened them and raised his firearm towards them, before he was shot by police. He was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police:
Local media initially reported a U.S. Marshal was killed in the shooting at the courthouse, but authorities have since said a U.S. Marshal was not shot. The man who was killed in that shooting was wearing body armor and openly carrying multiple weapons, officials said.
In a press conference held early this morning, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo called the two separate scenes “dynamic, and there’s a lot of questions we have to answer as we get through the night.” He continued:
(The protests) are what led to two shooting incidents last night involving … one of our officers being shot and critically injured as he dealt with protesters in front of the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. The second incident … involved an armed subject in front of the Foley Federal Building on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The officer who was shot is this morning in grave condition.
Lombardo explained the two incidents:
Last night, Metro Officers were attempting to disperse a large crowd, and were taking rocks and bottles from the crowd. Officers were attempting to get some of the protesters in custody when a shot went out, and one of our officers went down. The officer … was transported to University Medical Center in critical condition.
The suspect has been identified and … taken into custody.
The second incident was an officer-involved shooting that occurred at the 300 Block of Las Vegas Boulevard. LVMPD and Federal Officers were posted at the stairs to the Federal building to protect (it.)
At approximately 11:22 p.m., officers encountered a subject armed with multiple firearms who appeared to be wearing body armor.
During the interaction, the subject reached for his firearm, and the officers engaged with him. The suspect was struck by gunfire and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
This is a sad night, and a tragic night for our community … with these protests, one tragedy is only leading to another. What has occurred is utterly unacceptable.
Video has been posted of a livestream from outside the Federal Courthouse which appears to capture the moment when one of the shootings occurred. The camera is turned away but shots can clearly be heard in the video at 02:19:50:
As the shots continue, people can be seen running in the opposite direction. Flashing lights from police SUVs outside the Courthouse can be seen as an officer appears, gesturing and telling the assembled citizens who are on foot to “keep going.” The cameraman is heard describing the situation as “so scary. We need to get out of here. … It sounds like a warzone.”
At 02:21:10, emergency responders can clearly be seen surrounding and attending to a man who appears to be on the ground.
Another man is seen on the ground at 02:21:54.
KTNV and local CBS affiliate 8 News Now said gunshots were heard before Metro Police swarmed the area outside the Federal Courthouse on Las Vegas Boulevard following protests that happened in Fremont Street near Container Park.
Reporting live, KTNV reporters said a countless number of officers were in the area in downtown Las Vegas.
“Someone nearby heard someone had been shot – they are in touch with Metro police. It did sound like a number of gunshots – a Metro police cruiser was rushing into the area.”
Ed Komenda of the Reno Gazette Journal reported that at around 12 a.m. Tuesday “police have blocked off the Las Vegas Strip from The Strat — the towering resort at the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard — to Caesar’s Palace.”
He reported that earlier in the evening, a protester had been shot by police “after witnesses say he opened fire first.”
Orko Manna, a reporter with 8 News Now, confirmed that the LVMPD officer had been shot in the head outside Circus Circus, and someone else had been shot by metro police after they opened fire outside the Courthouse.
Manna later reported that an officer had been placed on life support at UMC Hospital, and quoted a source saying the incident occurred when “the officer was in a fight with another suspect when someone walked up from behind and shot the officer in the head.”
Earlier in the evening, Manna had posted scenes of peace breaking out in Vegas between protesters and officers across dividing picket lines:
Rising Criticism of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s “Slowness to Respond” to the Shootings
There was rising criticism of Sisolak’s perceived “slow response” to the shootings on Twitter this morning, with some clamoring for the governor to hand in his resignation in the wake of the incident.
More information will be posted as this story develops.
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