11 months, 2 weeks ago
A North Carolina family is demanding answers.
North Carolina prosecutors promised Monday to get to the truth — “wherever the truth leads”— in the death of a mentally ill teenager whose family claims police shot him in cold blood over the weekend.
Keith Vidal, 18, of Boiling Springs Lakes, was shot and killed Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
At least three law enforcement agencies responded after the family called for help just after noon, saying Vidal was in the midst of a schizophrenic episode.
Vidal was declared dead of a gunshot wound at a hospital.
Jerry Dove, chief of the Southport police, one of the responding agencies, said at a news conference that Detective Byron Vassey, a nine-year veteran of the department, had been placed on administrative leave. He wouldn’t say whether Vassey was believed to be the officer who fired the shot.
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Mark Wilsey, the young man’s stepfather, told reporters that the family called police to help subdue Vidal because he was holding a small screwdriver and threatening to fight his mother during a schizophrenic episode.
But the situation appeared to be under control, with two officers restraining the 90-pound Vidal, when the third officer arrived and shot Vidal point-blank, Wilsey contended.
“Then all of a sudden, this Southport cop came, walked in the house [and said]: ‘I don’t have time for this. Tase him. Let’s get him out of here,’” Wilsey said.
An officer used a stun gun on Vidal, “he hit the ground [and] this guy shot him,” Wilsey said.
Wilsey said that when he demanded to know why his stepson had been shot, the officer replied, “‘Well, I’m protecting my officers.’”
According to a report at The Daily Caller, Vidal was pinned on the ground by two officers when the third said “we don’t have time for this,” and shot him. There was never any report to dispatchers of a problem.
The first unit on scene reported a confrontation in the hallway, but told Brunswick County Dispatchers several times that everything was OK. Unit 104 from Southport arrived on the scene at 12:48:41, fourteen minutes after the first officer had already been on scene. Seventy seconds later, Unit 104 radioed out that he had to fire shots at the subject in order to defend himself.
The event report mirrors what family members told the media. Wilsey said his family called the police to help with his schizophrenic son Keith Vidal who had a small screwdriver in his hand. Officers used at Taser on Vidal and then shot him, according to Wilsey.
Wilsey said officers came into their home after they called for backup help when Vidal was having a schizophrenic incident.
Wilsey said officers had his son down on the ground after the teen was tased a few times and an officer said, “we don’t have time for this.” That’s when Wilsey says the officer shot in between the officers holding the teen down, killing his son.
This report is even more detailed. Two officers had him down on the floor, and the third officer, despite his claiming to think of the safety of “his” officers, shot in between the two officers who were holding Vidal down. And just as a reminder, Vidal was a mere 90 pounds, only ten more than my dog. The only person I ever knew who was 90 pounds had anorexia.
This has all the marks of cold blooded murder (at least second degree murder). Yet I expect the blue wall to close in behind the officer who fired the shot, the flow of information to dry up, and no charges ever filed even if the officers lose their jobs.
We’ll see and I will continue to track this. But this is the sort of thing people are coming to expect from police. We already know never to talk to the police. People generally learn the hard way, but learn they will. Do not call the police even when you need help. You just might die or get some innocent person shot.
At least, that’s the message being sent by law enforcement all over America.