Gintare Mikalajuniene at the bedside of her husband Tomas Mikalajunas in University Hospital Limerick
THREE months after being shot in the head by a garda, a Lithuanian man is still in the care of University Hospital Limerick.
Fragments of the bullet remain in his neck but his family say it is a “miracle he is alive”.
Tomas Mikalajunas, aged 36, protested his innocence in a bedside interview with the Leader. The other Lithuanian man in the vehicle when they were stopped at a checkpoint between Ardagh and Shanagolden on June 28 - Aurimas Petraska – has been charged in connection with a series of robberies in three counties.
“I was driving home with my friend. I saw the police with their lights and I stopped. One of the guards was shouting and screaming. I put my hands up and I was shot,” said Mr Mikalajunas, who denied he was involved in any criminal activity.
He says he was only in Ireland to look for work as a truck driver to make money for his family.
“I am in a lot of pain. I am three months here. I can’t eat, I can’t drink, my jaw is crushed, my ear is damaged. I can’t feel the right side of my face. The doctors don’t know how long I will be here,” said Mr Mikalajunas, speaking through a family friend.
It is understood the firearm was accidentally discharged.
His wife Gintare Mikalajuniene said a member of GSOC has spoken to her husband but that no garda has interviewed him.
A GSOC spokesperson confirmed this week that the “investigation is ongoing” but wouldn’t release any more details.
Mrs Mikalajuniene said they want “answers on how he was shot”.
“Why has everything calmed down? Do they want to delete this event completely? Our whole life is turned upside down. Doctors can not say when and how he recovers. I am very afraid that he will never be as he was before this terrible disaster. Maybe he can’t or won’t have the strength to work in his beloved job or live a full life for a 36-year-old man.
“I’m glad that my husband is alive, however, he will never be as he was,” said Mrs Mikalajuniene, who adds that their “financial situation is critical”.
They both emphasise the excellent care he has received in UHL.
“My family is very thankful to the doctors and nurses for saving my husband’s life and the good care,” said Mrs Mikalajuniene.
They are being represented by Michael O’Donnell, solicitor, who confirmed he has initiated civil proceedings in the matter.
“They are disappointed about the delays. The ombudsman has made contact with me concerning the investigation and complexity of the case. No indication has been given to me to date as to any findings,” said Mr O’Donnell.