LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man who shot and paralyzed Metro officer Shay Mikalonis in front of Circus Circus in 2020 has pleaded guilty to eight charges including attempted murder.

A group of officers were making an arrest on June 1 last year when shots were fired as officers worked at a protest on the Las Vegas Strip in reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

One of the bullets hit Mikalonis.

In all, Edgar Samaniego, 21, pleaded guilty to the following:

  • 1 count attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon
  • 1 count battery with use of a deadly weapon
  • 3 counts assault with use of a deadly weapon
  • 1 count discharging firearm where person might be endangered
  • 2 counts discharge of firearm from or within a structure

District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Samaniego could face at least 40 years behind bars on the attempted murder charge.

“Justice looks like prison,” Wolfson said.

“This man is going to prison. He pled guilty to numerous charges. I am very confident the judge will sentence him to prison for a pretty lengthy sentence,” he said.

Since his arrest, Samaniego has pleaded not guilty to all charges surrounding his involvement in the shooting. That changed Tuesday morning during a routine court calendar call.

It’s a huge shift in the case.

“By this gentleman … and I use that term loosely … accepting his responsibility and pleading guilty straight up to all the charges, I think justice will be done to the extent it can when you shoot a police officer and put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life,” Wolfson said.

Steve Grammas, president of Las Vegas Protective Police Association, said, “We all go out there and put our lives on the line every night in fear that one of us may not return. So we treat each other differently because of that issue.”

Mikalonis’s family did not want to appear on camera today, but they said they are happy to see the case move forward.

Mikalonis continues to recover from the shooting. He requires 24-hour care and breathes with the help of a ventilator.

He spent months at a rehab center in Colorado before returning to Las Vegas.

Last month, a national police organization named Mikalonis its 2020 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Samaniego’s sentencing is scheduled March 1.