LAS VEGAS (AP) - Testimony resumed Friday before a Clark County
coroner's jury considering whether Henderson police were justified
killing a mother of three in a chaotic scene after her husband was
stopped for traffic violations in an ice cream truck.
Witnesses differed Thursday in descriptions of whether 42-year-old Deshira Selimaj had a knife and threatened two of her children and police before she was killed Feb. 12 near Coronado High School.
One woman who passed the scene said Selimaj "unequivocally had
a knife," and said she had had no idea there would be a dispute about that.
Selimaj's husband, Zyber Selimaj, 65, testifying with an Albanian language translator, insisted his wife had no knife.
He later bowed his head as he and the 10-person jury listened to
recordings of police interviews with his 12-year-old and 5-year-old
The boys arrived with their mother in her ice cream truck after she talked by telephone with a distraught Zyber Selimaj. He had been stopped by Henderson Police Officer Patrick Gilmore, but refused to sign a ticket Gilmore was trying to give him for speeding and running a stop sign in his ice cream truck. Selimaj said it was the second ticket he received that day.
"I sell ice cream, and I don't make so much money," he told the jury.
He said he didn't see his wife get shot, but saw her falling to the ground with a fatal gunshot wound.
Jim Jimmerson, an attorney for the family, objected that police didn't obtain Zyber Selimaj's permission to interview the boys. Zyber Selimaj was jailed on obstruction charges following the shooting.
Assistant Clark County District Attorney Christopher Lalli said police did not need permission.
The 5-year-old, who answered questions on the recording with whispers, never used the word "knife," but told police his mother went to her truck and "got something so she could kill herself."
The 12-year-old cried when he described how his mother threatened to kill herself when she confronted Henderson police officers.
Gilmore said he saw what appeared to be a kitchen knife in Deshira Selimaj's hand and heard her yell threats to kill officers and herself.
Police say they whisked the children away from Deshira Selimaj, and Gilmore testified he prevented Zyber Selimaj from walking past him to get to her as she faced several other officers.
Gilmore said he heard the sound of a Taser gun and then the sound of a gunshot.
Henderson Police Officer Jeffrey Wiener testified that Deshira Selimaj emerged from her ice cream truck yelling profanities and threatening to kill the officers.
He said he was prepared to shoot her at one point because he thought she might try to kill her son. Moments later, he said he saw a Taser gun probes miss hitting Deshira Selimaj. He said he knew the weapon would have no effect.
Wiener said he feared Deshira Selimaj was trying to stab two officers when she lunged at them as they stepped toward her, and he
prepared to shoot.
At that moment, authorities say 23-year-old Police Officer Luke Morrison fired the fatal shot.
Morrison could be called to testify Friday.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)