Officer who fatally shot ice cream truck driver resigns from police department


The Henderson police officer at the center of one of the Las Vegas Valley’s most controversial shootings in recent memory resigned from the department Tuesday for undisclosed reasons.

City of Henderson spokesman Bud Cranor said Tuesday that Luke Morrison, 24, is no longer an employee of the city. Morrison was the officer who fatally shot 42-year-old ice cream truck driver Deshira Selimaj last year.

The resignation came in the wake of accusations from a family member that Morrison had engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with a teenager.

According to an April request for a restraining order filed in the Family Division of Clark County District Court, Morrison’s father-in-law accused him of taking advantage of his daughter — Morrison’s sister-in-law — when she was 15. She is now 18.

At an April hearing, the girl opposed the request for a restraining order. Both she and Morrison denied having a relationship.

The girl’s father reported the allegation to Henderson police. Morrison has been married to the girl’s older sister since Jan. 1, 2004, according to Clark County records.

Cranor wouldn’t specify why Morrison resigned, saying it was a personnel matter. He confirmed that an allegation had been made against Morrison that was investigated by Henderson police. He wouldn’t detail the allegation.

“There was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing based on our investigation,” Cranor said.

Morrison could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Morrison has been on paid administrative leave since July 21. His annual base salary was $64,349.

Morrison’s shooting of Selimaj was ruled justifiable by a coroner’s inquest jury. But numerous witnesses disputed the police version of what took place on the day of the shooting. On Feb. 12, 2008, Selimaj’s Albanian-born husband was pulled over in his ice cream truck for minor traffic violations at Sunridge Heights and Pecos Ridge parkways. Accompanied by two of the couple’s three children, she drove her ice cream truck to the scene to help translate for her husband, Zyber Selimaj.

The situation became volatile. Police said the 42-year-old mother raised a knife in the direction of one of the officers and was shot by Morrison. Several witnesses said Selimaj didn’t have a knife and was kneeling on the street when she was shot.

At the April 2008 inquest, Henderson police officer Anthony Pecorella credited Morrison for saving his life. He said Morrison shot the woman after she lunged at him with a knife. According to inquest testimony, a knife found at the scene had a 4 1/2-inch blade.

On Sept. 1, the Henderson City Council approved a $700,000 settlement with Zyber Selimaj.

The city admitted no liability or wrongdoing in the death of Deshira Selimaj. The settlement resolved a federal lawsuit brought by the Selimaj family that had sought $25 million in damages.

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

 

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.