Trial date set for officer charged in 2014 shooting death of mentally ill teen is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Bryon Vance Vassey
Bryon Vance Vassey

A Southport police officer charged in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Keith Vidal at his Boiling Spring Lakes home in 2014 is scheduled for trial next month.

Bryon Vassey, 46, of Southport, was indicted on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 5, 2014, shooting death of Vidal, a mentally ill teenager who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. According to Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger, who is the prosecutor in the case, the trial date has been scheduled for Feb. 15 in Brunswick County Superior Court.

A Brunswick County grand jury indicted Bryon Vassey, a nine-year veteran of the Southport Police Department, on the charge in February 2014. That’s  when District Attorney Jon David presented grand jurors with evidence to consider multiple charges: probable cause to charge Vassey with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or not to charge him at all.

According to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax, the sheriff’s office assisted the Boiling Spring Lakes and Southport police departments in what became the fatal incident on Presidents Drive in Boiling Spring Lakes.

In a more detailed account events following Vassey’s indictment, David said the incident began at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 when Mark and Mary Wilsey—Vidal’s stepfather and mother—called 911 because they were concerned for Vidal’s safety.

David’s account of the Jan. 5 shooting varied greatly from the one offered by defense attorney James Payne. David described the 18-year-old as a young man in crisis whose parents were seeking help so he wouldn’t harm himself. Payne said Vidal was stabbing a police officer when Vassey fired his weapon.

A fact not disputed by either side is that Vassey did shoot and kill Vidal, who suffered from schizophrenia, at his Boiling Spring Lakes home. Vidal was reportedly armed with a screwdriver, but Payne contests that the weapon the teen had during the incident was a pick.

Vassey was the last of three officers to arrive at the scene, David said. Shots were fired 1 minutes and 53 seconds after his arrival, he added.

The other officers present, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputy Samantha Lewis and Boiling Spring Lakes Police Officer John Thompson, have since been cleared by their respective agencies in incident.

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