LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The family of Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis is staying by his bedside every day and praying for him to get better.
Officer Mikalonis was seriously injured after he was shot while working a Black Lives Matter protest in June.
“I can’t really verbalize how much that support has meant to us. It’s kept us motivated and kept us going," said former Vegas police deputy chief Patrick Neville.
He expressed his gratitude for the support his stepson officer Mikalonis is receiving from the community. Mikalonis is continuing to recover from his injuries after being shot while working that BLM protests in June and Neville says there were initially serious doubts if he could pull through.
“Initially when you first looked at him in June, he was just laying in bed connected to a million machines and then slowly he began to recognize people,” he said.
Neville says Shay has a serious spinal cord injury and is recovering at an out of state rehab center. He is encouraged to see Shay communicate with his family.
“So that was good seeing him come back and be able to try to communicate by blinking his eyes and now he speaks by lipreading, but you kind of get an idea after a while,” Neville said.
Officer Mikalonis is known for his laid-back cool personality and his love for hockey, but what he enjoys the most is working with his fellow officers.
“I had a conversation with Shay a few weeks before the shooting and said, ‘How long are you going to stay on the graveyard [shift] for?’ and he says I want to stay here because of the guys I work with,” Neville said.
He says the extent of Shay’s recovery remains uncertain but says the love and support from the community have driven him to get better.
“We still show him videos and pictures that we got of some of the fundraisers and events for Shay so that motivates him,” Neville said.
That motivation gives Neville and other members of the family hope. They’re thankful for the help they’ve received.
“Las Vegas is a vibrant community. Las Vegas is a good community. I’m proud to be part of the community and on behalf of Shay, I’d like to say thank you,” Neville said.
The Injured Police Officers Fund is continuing to collect donations for Shay’s family. Donations can be made here.