UPDATE: SBI investigating officer-involved shooting of mentally ill teenager

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Members of Keith Vidal's family speak to the media before a press conference at the DA's Office. Staff photo by Caroline Curran.
Members of Keith Vidal’s family speak to the media before a press conference at the DA’s Office. Staff photo by Caroline Curran.

BOLIVIA—District Attorney Jon David requested an independent investigation by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation into Sunday’s shooting of a mentally ill teenager at a Boiling Spring Lakes home.

According to David, he’s been joined by Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram, Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove and Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Brad Shirley in his call for an independent SBI investigation of Sunday’s shooting of 18-year-old Keith Vidal, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

According to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax, the sheriff’s office assisted the Boiling Spring Lakes and Southport police departments in an incident that occurred between 11 a.m. and noon Sunday on Presidents Drive in Boiling Spring Lakes.

Though he acknowledged the “intense public interest” in the incident, David declined to comment on the details of the case—including which off the three officers who responded—shot and killed Vidal, citing professional conduct rules for prosecutors.

David said he called for the SBI investigation “to ensure a neutral, independent review of the facts in this case.”

“I believe that putting in an outside review is vital to the administration of justice, and so as District Attorney, I ask that that occur immediately,” David said. “As a team we are committed to getting in place an outside process that stood the best chance of assuring this community that we would have an independent review of the facts and circumstances that led to the death of an 18-year-old male in his home in the presence of his parents, and that we determine whether or not any crime was committed.”

But Vidal’s mother, Mary Wilsey, who along with about 20 other family members and friends spoke to the media before a Monday afternoon press conference, called her son’s death murder.

“This is my son,” Mary Wilsey said. “This is my flesh and blood that they murdered.”

Mary Vidal said her family called 911 because Keith had a small screwdriver in his hand, which they wanted him to put down.

“He does have schizophrenia and we didn’t want him to hurt himself,” Mary Wilsey said. “At that point, we called 911 and asked for assistance to help us get him to the emergency room so that he could get proper treatment without hurting himself.”

The family has relayed details of the incident and shooting to the media, but those details have not been corroborated by any law enforcement agency or the DA’s office.

According to a 911 log of the incident, there was “a confrontation in the hallway with the subject in the residence” at 12:42 p.m. At 12:49 p.m., shots were fired, according to the 911 log.

The sheriff’s deputy who responded—patrol deputy Samantha M. Lewis—did not discharge her firearm, Ingram said. She is on full duty and has not been placed on administrative leave.

Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove said Bryon Vassey, a nine-year veteran of the department, responded to Sunday’s incident. Vassey is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Dove declined to say if Vassey discharged his firearm.

Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Brad Shirley said Officer John Thompson responded to the incident Sunday. Thompson is on full duty.