Henderson settles lawsuit in police shooting of ice cream truck driver

The city of Henderson has agreed to a $700,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the husband of an ice cream truck driver who was shot and killed last year by a Henderson police officer.

Henderson spokesman Bud Cranor said Thursday that attorneys for both the city and plaintiff Zyber Selimaj settled the federal lawsuit that initially sought $25 million in damages. Attorney Marc Saggese, who represented Selimaj, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Deshira Selimaj was shot to death on Feb. 12, 2008, after she drove her ice cream truck to Sunridge Heights and Pecos Ridge parkways to help a patrol officer communicate with her Albanian-born husband. He had been pulled over in his ice cream truck for minor traffic violations. When she arrived, two of the couple's three children were with her.

Police said the 42-year-old mother raised a knife in the direction of one of the officers on scene and was shot by officer Luke Morrison, an act later ruled justifiable by a coroner's inquest jury.

Cranor said the resolution means that what could have been a lengthy legal proceeding was avoided.

"Nobody wins in something like this," Cranor said. "When you consider the amount of time that would have been involved litigating this, I think it was in the best interest of the city to do what they did."

Cranor added that Morrison is on paid administrative leave for reasons unrelated to the Selimaj shooting. Cranor didn't know when Morrison was placed on leave.

Saggese told the Review-Journal in February that Zyber Selimaj's life was ruined by the shooting.

"He can't work. He can't do anything," Saggese said.

The lawsuit contested police's version of the shooting and alleged the "unlawful killing of the Decedent."

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.