Family of teen shot and killed by cop want justice, answers

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Submitted: Tue, 01/07/2014 - 4:56am
Updated: Tue, 01/07/2014 - 1:53pm

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — There are new details in the case of a Boiling Spring Lakes teen shot and killed by an officer Sunday afternoon.

As the district attorney prepared for a news conference today, the family of Keith Vidal, 18, showed up in force with signs and a message: justice for Keith.

Family gathered in the lobby outside DA Jon David’s office waiting for his news conference, which they say they were not invited to or informed of.

The conference was moved inside the office at the last minute, which infuriated relatives, who say this is a cover-up for murder.

“See this kid? This is my son,” Vidal’s mother Mary Vidal said as she held up a picture of him. “This is my flesh and blood that they murdered.”

Inside David said he could not discuss specifics of the case but ensured that an outside investigation by the SBI will bring out the truth.

David said he could not release the names of the officers involved, but Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove tells us that Bryon Vassey, an officer with nine years in the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and the Boiling Spring Lakes Police department both say they do not have any officers on administrative leave, though David says both agencies were involved in the incident.

The lawyer representing the officer who allegedly shot Vidal says he is confident of three things: That the SBI will do a thorough investigation and that David will judicially reflect on the facts of the investigation. But James Payne said one thing is most important.

“When that investigation is done and that review has been completed all folks, everybody will conclude that the officers acted appropriately,” Payne said.


  • REally says:

    This is the most intelligently written, useless, dumb comment I may have ever read.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Those wouldn’t do any good since the shooting happened in the home.

  • Guest2020 says:

    He’s a defense attorney. That’s his job.

  • Bethany says:

    The boy had already been tazered three times, was no longer struggling, and was being held down by two officers, who repeatedly told this guy that they had it under control. There is no way he can get off with the “I feared for my life” defense; he had to step up and aim between the two officers holding him down (thereby endangering his fellow officers’lives as well)!

  • mary hopopes says:

    you are either retarded or probably scared silly of a KITTEN. The officers had already said the 90lb kid was under control. if an officer is that afraid, they should get into a line of work like pie tasting, etc. I thought he said he “didn’t have time for this” and shot him. It sounds more like he enjoyed his job than that he had to make a “split second decision” I will enjoy “I hope” hearing the outcome of this. I do believe that the “officer should be in jail instead of paid vacation while it’s being “investigated” by the DA John David. Wonder who makes the decision on “paid vacation instead of jail in a case of multiple witnesses. I hope the other 2 officers are men instead of “WHATEVER.”

  • Guest7969 says:

    father made a statement that the weapon was small and wouldn’t hurt anyone…THEN WHY DID YOU CALL THE POLICE!? YOU called for help, it arrived. At that point an officer has to make split second decisions on things that might end their life or save it. To say a 90lb kid with a weapon isn’t capable of killing someone is SILLY..happens daily! Officers were called for help, they arrived, things unfortunately got out of hand and an officer evidently feared for their life or the life of another officer and deadly force was used. Its a sad situation, but just as sad had the kid killed one of those officers there to do their job.

  • Perry says:

    I’m confused – how can Mr. Payne determine that “everybody will conclude that the officers acted appropriately” when all of the facts have yet to be presented? That statement seems to be a bit presumptuous at this point in the game.

  • Jeffofvtown says:

    Did the officers have dash cams or audio recorders??? If yes they should release one or both. The family should demand it and the DA should comply

  • Jack Torrance says:

    Everybody reading about this tragedy should look at this event in light of the bigger picture, a change happening across the country in the way law enforcement officers view the citizens they are supposed to be serving.
    Read about the latest news coming from the FBI, the largest law enforcement agency in the country: The FBI has quietly replaced “law enforcement” with “national security” as its declared primary function.

    That’s right folks: the FBI no longer considers itself a law enforcement agency, but rather a “national security” agency, a vague term that has been used by tyrrants for centuries to justify illegal activities and violation of the rights of citizens.

    Who in their right mind could doubt that this attitude shift has trickled down from the highest ‘police’ in the nation to the lower level local departments and their officers?

    I’m actually surpised that the uniformed killer in this case didn’t justify his murder by claiming ‘national security’ as his motive, but you will be reading about it in the very near future, coming from a town near you: “skinny mentally ill boy turns out to be a terrorist – the NSA provided damning evidence to the FBI showing his internet activity over the past 15 years – he was googling things like ‘false flag’ and ‘WTC building 7′ and ‘Bin Laden CIA’ that proves this without a doubt.”

    Nothing to see here folks. Move along. By the way, based on this recent change of purpose, the FBI will start violating the 4th amendment with impunity, using all your personal private data collected by NSA without warrant (bank information, emails, all internet browsing history, medical history, purchase history) to capture you and cart you off any time they want for things that you didn’t even know were felonies but which are commited by the average American every single day (check out the book ‘Three Felonies a Day’). They might even put you in Guantanamo and waterboard you, which is totally legal now under NDAA and the Patriot Act. The good news is, there is no longer any pretense for entrapment (remember the recent news that 99 percent of discovered ‘terrorist attack’ plans in the US are actually set up by the FBI?). The other side of this: these very police actions and attitudes that many are defending will target people indiscriminately, and will eventually come to haunt anyone who has approved of this unconstitutional overreach. Think about that the next time you hear a knock at your door (wait, nevermind: police have stopped following the ‘knock and talk’ or ‘knock and announce’ rule, so they will probably just bust in with full tactical gear when you least expect it).

  • Robert Green says:

    A precedent was set in the Peyton Strickland case in New Hanover County. The officer who pulled the trigger will walk but will be forced to resign to bring stability to the community. The taxpayers pick up the tab for the civil suit , which will be settled out of court. There will be some degree of negligence found on the behalf of law enforcement. Law enforcement tends to circle the wagons for one of their own. The only law enforcement officer in recent memory to be dealt with swiftly was the one in Charlotte , who gunned down a man whose car broke down and was seeking help. Rogue law enforcement , such as the former ones from Leland , do destroy a community’s confidence in their welfare. Brunswick County has done nothing to reassure citizens of competent officers patrolling their streets. My first impression upon reading the story was some poor judgement on behalf of law enforcement but I will reserve judgement until all facts are gathered.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    Let’s reserve ALL judgments. Lets let the SBI do their job. You quickly mention a “civil suit”. Payton Strickland wasn’t actively threatening someone’s life with a deadly weapon in his hand. So you might want to hold off on dreams of wealth and riches, if you are who I think you are. But good try.

  • Lisa's Two Cents says:

    Funny, I don’t remember reading anything about Payton Strickland having a deadly weapon in his hand.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    Do you mean the druggie THUG that beat and robbed a UNCW student of his widdle pwaystation so HE could go pway video games then got his @$$ shot? Is that the man you are referring to? The man whose father just happened to be a prominent ambulance-chasing attorney and got himself another fat sack of money to pad his bank account due to his own sons impeccable decision making as a violent thief?

    Yep, were talking about the same man. We all remember that wonderful guy that never did anything wrong and was an upstanding member of society along with being an area drop-out and druggie. Thanks for reminding us about ol’ Peyton! Don’t worry about “reserving your judgment” for us, it’s less than useless in it’s best day!

  • Guest2020 says:

    I am one who errs on the side of the police but this one is not sitting right with me. From what I have read, the two officers who had been on the scene the longest didn’t have a need to draw their weapons. They were getting him calmed down and things escalated when the officer from Southport arrived. He was on the scene for just over a minute before he shot that kid. It sounds as if he went in with guns blazing intending on action rather than diplomacy. He should have deferred to the officers who were already present on the scene.

  • Jean says:

    There are a lot of over zealous cops who commit murder and never pay the price that an ordinary citizens pay. Obviously you are married to one. I pray for your safety. Once someone becomes a cop, he suddenly transforms in to someone who thinks they do not have to answer to the law. I HOPE this dirty cop is prosecuted to the fullest and serves time in our prison system. He will then learn what people think of his murderous ways. My condolences to you for being married to a cop. I would be running 100 miles an hour.

  • Breathoffreshair! says:

    My husband has been through this judgmental junk from John Q Public, who only knows what information the media releases and the angle it points at, it sells!! Face it people. Almost 5 years ago my husband had been faced with a domestic call, which seems to be the most kinds of calls they have. It was a bad situation from the start. At one point the situation escalated and my husband had <1sec to make a choice. Try it, it’s not much time. He shot and the man dropped to the floor, with my husband dropping right in on him starting CPR. My husband did not respond to this call with the intent to kill someone. He went with the intent of protecting. Unfortunately things dont always go as we want them too. These officers are faced with hard decisions and not any time to make them. Don’t pass judgement on something you don’t know all the details about and dont’ pass judgement unless you have walked in those shoes!!! Will be praying for all involved. My heart does go out to the family of this young man and I will pray that somehow and sometime soon they have answers and are able to find peace. I will also pray for the officers involved and their families as I know just how hard this is to go through. My husbnad to this day still cannot completely accept that he took a life, no matter that the end result from the SBI concluded it was a clean soot, which means everything was done by the book. The significant other present at the time of this incident corroberated the details of what my husband reported happened. Completel healing for these officers may never come, none of them go into this career, having ever given wonder to “how would I feel if I had to take a life?” God Bless us all!!!

  • James Born says:

    Two officers holding down a 90 pound kid who had a small electronics screwdriver and had already been tazed, I think this situation and your husbands look a little different from each other. I will reserve judgment until all the facts come out but it does not look good for this officer.

  • Jenn says:

    Did your husband shoot a 90lb boy in the chest after he was tased and being restrained by two other cops, because he “didn’t have time?” Did it happen 70 seconds after his arrival on scene and was he out of his jurisdiction? If not, you are comparing apples and orangutans.

  • Hows says:

    How is it a LEO can use deadly force based on a judgment call (room for 50 shades of gray-area) but a citizen can only use deadly force with a weapon “equal to, or less -than”, and then that has stipulations around it. Is it the same ruling that gives LEO the right to disregard traffic laws when NOT running emergency traffic?
    (Granted most LEOs here, Do follow those laws, but then again, I was NOT referring to New Hanover County.. hint.. Brunswick, Duplin, Sampson, Pender, hint.. hint..)

  • Amanda says:

    I have written CNN, the ACLU, NAMI, and the DOJ about this. I encourage all of you to do the same!

  • Noneya says:

    Like many, I have also contacted CNN and the ACLU. I will contact others as well. I am sick and tired of the poor cop excuse. Perhaps we should pay cops more and require them to at least have masters degrees so that we get people who are actually intellectually capable of making decisions in a crisis. I have lived around the county and the world, and everywhere I go people comment on the stupidity of the police – there are reasons for that! They are not trained adequately and they are majority male – I’m sorry but it takes more than broad shoulders, a bunch of testosterone, and the ability to carry a gun to be a public servant. Keith is dead because of stupidity and violence. Its real clear from where I sit, whether the SBI agrees or not. But I do know one thing. I am not calling the police for any reason. If I need help I will call my Dad because he has the intelligence to separate lies from the truth – and a crypto security clearance.

  • Karen B says:

    Some years ago I recall something happened regarding a mentally disturbned male there, and it seems to me on the same street. Does anyone else recall what I am speaking of?

  • King says:

    Anthony, you might want to lock up your Facebook page. Doesn’t look good when you link yourself to this kid. Makes him look violent.

  • Anthony Owens says:



  • Guest7969 says:

    sir have obviously NO experience in dealing with people with mental issues or on drugs…I can assure you a 90 pound WOMAN or kid can be a handful! I bet if I turn my 90lb teen on you with a screwdriver…you’d change your tune!

  • TruthSeeker says:

    Everyone should really wait for the SBI to conclude their investigation but as usual the local news,just like most national news outlets,will slant the coverage for the poor victim of the police and play up the emotions for the family.
    The police are always in a no win situation in domestic violence cases.The mother here was in fear of her safety due to the threats of her son who was wielding a screwdriver as a weapon.Much has been made of the young mans weighing ninety pounds but obviously the parents felt that they could not handle him,the father being much larger than 90 pounds in his interviews with the news.People do not call the police to come to their house to calm family members down with conversation as police officers are not psychologists.So already the family reports that their son was shot by a police officer that was behind them,and he was shot as he was being held down by two police officers on top of him and the father hearing the shot but not actually seeing it.One day and no less than three different stories already. It is bad for everyone involved that this young man died but domestic violence results cannot be predicted and police officers that respond to these situations have to protect all family members involved,especially the one’s that felt threatened enough to call 911.Oftentimes these situations will turn out in ways that the families do not like,regardless of what actually occurs.
    Let the investigation proceed so the truth as to what happened can come out.

  • Unknown says:

    Get just for the family the boy didn’t deserve to die like this killing him in cold blood was not right

  • Wesley says:

    Drudge Report has a link to a Daily Caller article about this incident. I don’t know if it has gotten any other national attention, but it probably will.

  • Jenn says:

    Those little electronics screwdrivers are now deadly weapons, against guns and tasers and one fat ass cop, while two other cops are holding down a kid who was smaller than me? (135lbs and 5’5″)

  • Smitty says:

    You remember…the one who’s family sued New Hanover County for wrongful death and won. The taxpaying citizens of New Hanover County had to ultimately pay for that blunder. We have a rule of law in place in case you forgot…it’s called due process. We seem to have more problems in this area with pigs than thugs.

  • King says:


    Peyton was shot in the face thru the front door as he was opening it.

    There is no evidence that Peyton stole anything.

  • guesty says:

    The police were not at his house to sell him raffle tickets, they had an arrest warrant for him due to the EVIDENCE showing he stole the Playstation. Before that he physically assaulted an individual and had a pending court date for that. He also attempted to intimidate the victim into not testifying and was about the get a witness tampering charge.

    Yea, he was a good guy. NOT.

  • jj says:

    They didn’t win. It was settled out of court and the Tax payers gave money away. I would have love to have sat on that jury.

  • King says:

    Guesty you are wrong. Strickland had no convictions, no day in court, no evidence against him. The guy “assaulted” was friends (played on the same baseball team together) with the guy that plead guilty. Strickland and another paid the guy to stand in line and buy the play station. The video game was not delivered and the kid was met in the parking lot and they argued and it as taken. Strickland was not there as per the kid who plead guilty.

    Strickland was to appear in court for punching a guy in the jaw. The guy beat up his girlfriend and Steuckland defended her.

    The “evidence” against Strickland was a Facebook post of to of his friends holding air soft replicas on Halloween.

    No stolen play station was found at Stricklands house, no guns other that a shotgun locked up in a gun case.

    Insurance companies aren’t likely to hand over millions of Dollars in an out of court settlement without cause such as Stricklnds murderer being a juice head (steroids) and the attack being designed by Arch Jones, at the time, commander if the sheriff’s SWAT team who was a neighbor of Stricklands and who had prior run ins with Stricklands about parking and noise complaints.

    Facts are facts Guesty, deal with it.

  • GRR says:

    King, I’m neutral here and will reserve my opinion on what happened that day until all the facts are released but just what does Mr Owens facebook page have to do with the killing of this kid. So they were friends or family but how does this make him violent?

  • Concerned parent says:

    I keep hearing people say “Let’s wait for the facts before passing judgement…..” but here is a fact for you…. we will never know the honest to God truth because law enforcement in Brunswick County will ONLY release the information they want you to know, not necessarily all the facts. So yes, unfortunately this officer will probably walk, maybe resign to satisfy the people but never serve a say in prison were he belongs. Anyone that I thinks a 90lb. children with a screw driver against 2-3 officers plus his parents was a deadly threat your ridiculous…. it was murder. For Gods sake… they could have backed out of the home worst case scenario until trained staff arrived to deal with him appropriately…. God what would that have harmed… I’m sure the family would rather have dealt with repairing a few walls or what ever than this outcome. That officer will pay… if not today…judgement day before God for his actions and when he’s sitting in hell paying for his sins he’ll know why.

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