Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008 | 6:35 p.m.
Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins tried to clarify the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of 42-year-old Deshira Selimaj in an afternoon press conference today at the Henderson Police Department.
"I would have rather not had to come out here at all except for the misinformation which you all have reported," said Perkins, addressing a small group of media members.
After Perkins complained about the "misinformation" that was floating around, and then backed off from that stance when one reporter pointed out part of the information in question was provided by the Henderson police, Perkins got to the point of the press conference — that Selimaj allegedly tried to attack an officer with a knife on Feb. 12 after her husband, Zyber Selimaj, was pulled over in a routine traffic stop.
Police said Deshira Selimaj's attempted lunge at an officer, which came moments after she had threatened the life of one of her sons with a knife, prompted officer Luke Morrison to shoot Selimaj in the center of her body.
"Law enforcement officers are not trained to shoot to injure. They are trained to fend off imminent danger," Perkins said.
Perkins said he was fully confident that Morrison's actions were warranted and in compliance with the Henderson Police Department's use of force guidelines. He said the coroner's inquest would prove this point.
Perkins later confirmed another point of contention in the case that it was Zyber Selimaj, who originally made the call to his wife, and not police as earlier reports indicated. He said that police had spoken with Deshira on the phone, but denied that the conversation had any bearing on the officer's actions once she arrived on the scene.
While the press conference left many discrepancies and unanswered questions, Perkins said that only after the coroner's inquest would there be any real answers to this "tragic event."
As for the Selimaj family's completely different account of that evening, Perkins said: "It's not uncommon for somebody in this situation to have a different story — it's just not accurate."