North Carolina detective indicted for killing mentally ill teenager

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Keith Vidal (Photo credit: Wilsey family via CNN)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina detective who shot and killed a mentally ill teenager has been indicted by a grand jury on one count of voluntary manslaughter, the Brunswick County District Attorney’s office said in a news release.

Bryon Vassey of the Southport Police Department was given until noon Wednesday to surrender.

A judge set bail Monday night at $50,000.

“After I reviewed the case, I found that a crime almost certainly did take place,” District Attorney Jon David told reporters Tuesday. “It was a ‘bad shoot.’ A grand jury has agreed.”

CNN affiliate WECT reported that an attorney for Vassey indicated he planned to issue a statement on Tuesday or Wednesday. Last month, Vassey, through his lawyer W. James Payne, claimed to CNN that he feared one of the other responding officers was in danger.

Keith Vidal, 18, was killed January 5 at his family’s home in the eastern North Carolina town of Boiling Springs Lakes. Three law enforcement officers from three different agencies answered a 911 call asking for police to help in dealing with a schizophrenic man armed with a screwdriver and asking to fight his mother.

Family members said the first two were able to calm the situation, but things quickly devolved after Vassey arrived. Within a few minutes, Vidal was dead.

None of the officers was injured in the incident.

CNN first learned of the shooting through an iReport sent by a family friend.

18 comments

    • Rawvibes

      LEOs are paid to ENFORCE the law. We have smarter people who make it and make judgements on those that break it. A gun and a little authority can go a long way to inflating an ego, especially an idiot’s ego..

      Now I’m not saying I think they’re all dumb, but there seems to be A LOT coming out of the woodwork as of late.

  • Tim

    This cop obviously did not go in to difuse the situation. He went in like he was billy bad a$$ and killed the guy. I dont care who you are, you are not to shoot an obviously unarmed man regardless of the situation. Cops go through training to prevent such cases and this cop was obviously being a bully and ruined everything. Lock him up and make sure the prisoners know he is a cop and he will be dealt with accordingly. Cops are not above the law whatsoever and its time to make all cops realize that. Aside from speeding around in their cruisers as a daily driver when not responding to a call is what should be next to fix with these people.

    • JohnB

      How do you know when they are responding to a call? Not all calls are emergency runs that require lights and sirens, many are high priority yet do not require lights and sirens. Officers do not use their patrol cars as “daily drivers” no department would allow this. The fact of the matter is, you don’t know why they may be speeding, unless you are an officer or dispatcher, you do not know the nature of the call they are responding to.

      • Tim

        Quit makng excuses for their excessive speeding down city and side streets. If the cops are on a call, they should have their lights on, but forget a siren if need be. But if they are speeding around the streets and stopping at stop signs and red lights, I hope they are not on a call making stops and preventing a quick show up at the call! Not to mention all the gas they are using by flying around stop sign to stop light down these roads just cruising around town.

    • Tim

      Dear Joust – I am not saying all cops, but cops in general abuse the law. I have several close friends who are cops and they wouldnt disgaree with me in regards to the good cop/bad cop mentality. Some cops are upholding citizens and some think because they have a badge and a weapon they are invincible – Hence the article with this idiot killing an innocent man, unarmed KID!

    • David

      Being a cop isn’t a dangerous job. There were fewer cop killings and assaults on cops last year than any other year since the 19th century.There are far more dangerous jobs in the United States. In fact, just walking down the street in some of our large cities is more dangerous than being a cop.

      Yet, WE are routinely told how dangerous and how stressful their jobs are. WE are routinely treated as criminals by these freaks who seem to feel the rules just don’t apply to them.. Some of the cops in my town look and act like they belong in the BACK of a cop car rather than in the front seat.

      We’re also indundated with stories about cops abusing their authority and/or using the poorest judgment imaginable. These are dangerous people. I don’t hate cops but I certainly don’t trust them and I avoid them at all costs.

      • JohnB

        Having weapons pulled on you is not dangerous? Entering a domestic dispute with emotionally distraught spouses with firearms is not dangerous? Doing a traffic stop on a man with prior violent felony convictions is not dangerous? You go do it then, but you are a coward who bashes law enforcement online. When you have a home invasion at night and you fear for your life, deal with it yourself and tell me that it’s not dangerous.

    • Chucky1992

      A law enforcement agency dictates when an officer can and cannot operate their lights and / or siren. It is not the officers’ decisions to make. Most agencies have a ride along program… go ride with one and see if your opinion changes. Most of the public has no idea what an officer does and most probably either don’t care or don’t want to know. If your call is not a high priority that requires lights and sirens, I can bet that you’d want an officer to speed to get there ASAP.

      • Chucky1992

        By the way, if you are of the mind set that I am a law enforcement officer, you would be wrong. I do know plenty though and i wouldn’t have their jobs.

      • Tim

        I would want the polict to get anywhere fast, but not without lights and sirens….when they do this, they are putting everybody on the roads life in jeopardy. Cops are wrecking their cars left and right, so maybe if they slow down when not on calls, that would help us taxpayers….and when on a call, turn those blue lights on! Cops drive fast whether or not they are on a call or not and if you dont believe that they do, your an idiot.

  • samiam

    In our current law system that we have all all people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. He has been indicted by a grand jury, because the District Attorney has found and believed that a crime has been committed. Now he builds his case, and will have a opportunity to present his case to the court. All who have commented here, were not there, we read what is written, and reported by the media, we are all guilty to pass judgement on this officer before he has had his day in court. Now as far as law enforcement being a little shifty or doing things that we don’t like or see. Maybe some of you should strap on a gun and uniform, get into a police car and do there job for a day or 2. They are underpaid, they work long hours, they have allot of paperwork. They come into situation that you and I would not even think about going into, but let something go wrong in our lives no matter the situation who do we call 911. They come they don’t bicker they try to defuse the situation, because we couldn’t Let this man have his day in court, let the state prove a crime has been committed, and then let a court pass judgement upon him and only then.

    • Chucky1992

      100% correct. There are a lot of people on here making comments about police when they clearly know nothing about them… only what they think to be true. Let them need one though. Rather than slamming officers based on the actions of a few, they should be reaching out and shaking their hands for protecting their butts.

      • Tim

        I applaud all law enforcement who made a career choice to protect and serve….but I dont applaud when they are breaking the law themselves. They are out there to protect and serve, not put lives in jeopardy driving like an idiot because your in a police car. I have had personal experience with a local cop pulling me over for speeding when I was only riding side by side with him down Wendover Avenue for a few miles…he decided to pull behind me and put on his blue lights and had the audacity to say I was speeding….I went to court to fight it and I won because my arguement was this – why can they speed down a street without question in a marked car and not be on a call and not me! The judge agreed and threw out the case.

  • Nisse O

    Oh please give me a break, some cops abuse their authority. They think everyone is a suspect. ESP HP. I went to pick up my daughter from school bb game and the cops there talk to you so nasty. I have seen and heard them do it. I have no respect for them at all. Now this “seems” to be one of these situations where the “cop” escalated the situation instead of diffusing. Typical. WE won’t know until after the trial. I hope both familes find peace in this situation at the end of the trial.

  • Tim

    Then dont be a cop! If you want to complain about being in dangerous situations everyday, then go find another career. You alone choose this path…make the bed, now lay in it. Enough Said!

  • Crystal

    First of all, I’m not defending or admonishing the police officer’s actions because I was not there and do not know the whole story. That said…if the parents called 911 on the child then clearly they were concerned for their safety, so why shouldn’t the officer be concerned for his own safety and that of his fellow officers? If you are scared of your own child, then why wouldn’t someone who doesn’t know them at all be scared? If I were on the call, which I was not, I assure you that I would do what I had to do to make sure that I made it home to my family that night…just sayin’.

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