A North Carolina detective is on leave after shooting a mentally ill teen who had reportedly already been subdued with a Taser.
A Brunswick County event report obtained by WECT indicated that two officers were called to Boiling Spring Lakes home after 12:34 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. One of the officers told Brunswick County Dispatchers that there had been a confrontation with 18-year-old Keith Vidal, but repeated several times that the situation was under control.
A second unit with one officer arrived 14 minutes later and notified dispatchers that he was forced to shoot the teen in self defense.
Mark Wilsey, the teen’s father, explained to WECT that members of his family had called the police for help with his son’s schizophrenic episode. He said that officers shocked Vidal with a Taser several times to get him under control.
“We don’t have time for this,” Wilsey recalled one of the officers saying before he fired in between the two officers who were holding the teen down.
“There was no reason to shoot this kid,” Wilsey insisted. “They killed my son in cold blood. We called for help and they killed my son.”
Wilsey admitted that his son was still holding a small screwdriver when he was shot, but said that the 90-pound boy was under control and could not have hurt anyone.
“We wanted him to put the screwdriver down because he does have schizophrenia and we didn’t know if he was gonna hurt himself,” mother Mary Vidal told Wilmington’s Star News, noting that the teen did not have a history of violence.
“Where is the justice, why did they shoot my son?,” she asked WECT. “This is what’s wrong with our mental health system.”
The Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office held a press conference on Monday, but the family said that they were not invited to attend. DA Jon David offered few new details other than that the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) had been called in to investigate. He said that it would take time to determine if a crime had been committed.
“The wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly,” David pointed out. “We’re only 24 hours in at this point, we don’t have all the information and what information I have I cannot share at this juncture.”
Outside the press conference, the family held signs, demanding justice for Keith Vidal.
“I know what happened, I was there,” the teen’s father said. “I watched him shoot my son in cold blood right in front of me, and there’s no changing that.”
However, attorney James Payne, who is representing the officer who allegedly shot Keith Vidal, said that the investigation would show no wrongdoing.
“When that investigation is done and that review has been completed all folks, everybody will conclude that the officers acted appropriately,” Payne remarked to WWAY.
Watch this video from WECT, broadcast Jan. 7, 2013.