NC Policeman Allegedly Shoots Dead Mentally Ill Teenager; Grieved Family Calls Investigation 'Cover-Up'

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By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
January 8, 2014|12:47 pm

The family of a mentally ill teenager who was allegedly shot dead by a police officer during a home incident on Sunday in Brunswick County, N.C., said their son was killed "in cold blood."

"There was no reason to shoot this kid," said Mark Wilsey, stepfather to 18-year-old Keith Vidal, as reported by CNN affiliate WECT. "They killed my son in cold blood. We called for help, and they killed my son."

Vidal's parents say the teenager had just turned 18 and weighed only 90 pounds. During a schizophrenic episode in which Vidal was holding a screwdriver and threatening to fight his mother, the family called the police. Wilsey apparently told 911 that Vidal was refusing to take his medication.

"He's not doing very good. You've got to get him someplace," Wilsey told 911. "He wants to fight his mother. ... She's scared to death of him right now."

"He's just, he's not right," he added.

According to the stepfather's account, two officers held Vidal down on the ground and the situation seemed to be under control. But a Southport officer came in, Wilsey claims, and said "we don't have time for this; tase him." After being tased, the teen was shot dead.

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"Where is the justice, why did they shoot my son?" Vidal's mother, Mary Wilsey, asked. "This is what's wrong with our mental health system."

"The cops come and talk to him," added Chelsea Wilsey, Vidal's stepsister. "That's all you have to do is talk to Keith, that's the type of person he is, and calm him down and usually that will solve the problem."

A Wilmington Star-News report noted that the three officers were from different jurisdictions – the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department, Southport Police Department and Brunswick County Sheriff's Office. Details about what happened are still being clarified.

The Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department confirmed in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday that it does not have any personnel on administrative leave following the incident. After an internal review Police Chief Brad Shirley said there is "no indication that departmental policy or state law was violated by the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department officer."

The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office also said their officer was cleared of wrongdoing.

Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove, meanwhile, said Detective Bryon Vassey was placed on leave following the incident. But according to WECT, he has refused to confirm whether Vassey was the officer who pulled the trigger.

Vidal's family has hired lawyers and is accusing law enforcement officials of covering up what really happened.

The officer from the Southport Police Department allegedly involved in the shooting has apparently also hired a lawyer to defend himself.

"We have full faith and confidence in all agencies involved," said attorney James Payne. "To say it's a cover-up is saying that these men and women lack integrity and that's not true."

He added that "law enforcement officers are called to many scenes and many things can happen in a split second that are totally unexpected."

Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David admitted that he can "certainly understand" why the family is upset at this time.

"They just lost a child and certainly my thoughts and prayers are with them. But what they want from this office today is justice and I intend to give them exactly that," David said.

The state Bureau of Investigation has also launched an investigation into the incident.

 

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