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BSL officer, deputy cleared in incident that ended in teen's death; 911, radio traffic provide more detail


BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) -- Boiling Spring Lakes Police say an internal review has cleared Ofc. John Thomas of any wrongdoing in Sunday's incident that ended with a teen dead. The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office says Dep. Samantha Lewis, who also responded, has been cleared following its internal review.

Meanwhile new information reveals the police officer who reportedly pulled the trigger was only on the scene for 70 seconds before shooting and killing Keith Vidal, 18.

"Could you send an officer over here. We have a son that has schizophrenia, and he's not doing very good," Mark Wilsey told a 911 operator Sunday.

Wilsey, Vidal's father, called police Sunday afternoon for help with his son.

"He wants to fight his mother. He's got a screwdriver," Wilsey told the operator. "She's scared to death of him."

The event report shows the first Boiling Spring Lakes Police officer arrived at 1130 President Road at 12:34 p.m. followed by two more BSL officers and a Brunswick County Sheriff's deputy. They reported a confrontation in the hallway but said everything was OK.

Records show Unit 104 from Southport arrived on scene at 12:48 p.m. Just 70 seconds later reports of shots fired come across emergency radio.

"I just heard gunshots," someone reported.

Nearly two minutes passed before Unit 104 reported to dispatch defending his actions.

"I don't know if you've been advised or not, but shots were fired," the officer said. "I've had to defend myself against the subject."

Seconds later the radio calls show that Vidal was taken into custody and being checked out by EMS.

Meanwhile an officer at the scene told dispatch, "We're having problems with the family. They witnessed the shooting."

Southport Police say Bryon Vassey is on paid administrative leave following the shooting. We went to his home today to try and speak with him. No one answered the door, but Boiling Spring Lakes Police arrived and asked us to leave.

Late this afternoon the attorney representing Thomas, who was cleared by the internal review, issued a statement. It said in part that Thomas and other responding officers followed the laws about using force.

The SBI continues to investigate.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Small but wiry

When I was only four years old, back in 1946, my sister had to have her tonsils taken out. Back then the doctor gave my Dad and Mother a discount to have mine removed too. Yep, they did such things back in those days! But my point is when the nurse was putting me under ether this four year old and small for my age got away from that nurse and was leaving the room. The nurse was a male and immediately he had to call for help as he could not seduce this skinny four year old as I was small but wiry. In came two more males to help him and they too could not get me under control. By then my father had heard the commotion and also ran into the room as had another female nurse. It took these five grown adults to finally hold me down and finish getting me fully under ether for my tonsils to be removed. My point is it does not matter what the size of a person is when it comes to fighting in a situation like this. People are saying how could a 90 lbs. young man with a lethal weapon, not be subdued by grown police officers? Easily as most small built males are very wiry.
No, I am not excusing the investigation into this young man's life but please folks do not judge an officer just because everyone is wanting to say the 90 lbs. male could have been easily over-powered by the officers on site.
And as another person's comment she told about how her son's life was back under control by taking medication. If the dead boy's family had taken their son for medical treatment and he had the medication to control his condition was he possibly not taking it? If not then the young man put his own life in jeopardy in doing this in a sense putting himself out there for something to happen as it did.
So let's not judge against the officers on site by saying a 90 lbs. male should have been easily subdued. I know for a fact as in my case when I was a small skinny four year old it isn't as easy as people would think.
However I agree with some that are saying the police force look out for their own as I have a neighbor that has a Fraternal Order of the Police medallion on all his vehicles. In all the years even when we both had teenage sons and they were stopped by police his son was always let go and our son was given the ticket. If the medallions were of no use why has he always had them on all his vehicles over the years?
There are aspects on both sides of this issue that need to be addressed before making loose comments like the ones being seen on this site.


Three BSL officers and a Brunswick Co. Deputy needed help?

So now there are three BSL officers joined by a Brunswick Co. Deputy handling this situation with a mentally ill, 90 lb., 18 yr old boy and a Southport policeman shows up and within 70 seconds, the boy is dead. WTH? I'm sure they will try to come up with some lame reason that the boy was killed but in my opinion there is simply no justification for this murder.

Out of Control

You all need to make up your mind. One minute you are crying that your thug neighbors are out of control and you are begging the town for help. Now you are saying that the police are out of control. Decide which you want: LEO's to take back your town or just continue to be the gang area that you are. I live outside of Wilmington and its exciting to watch your news every night because you all keep it real. Drama City USA

4 cops failed to do their job

If the officer that shot and killed this young man did so because he was defending himself and his life was in peril, then obviously the other 4 officers who were already on scene FAILED to do their job.
In order to believe that shooting officer you have to conclude that 4 other cops were unable to subdue and control the young man and in fact they were failing at their job so profusely as to let the 5th officer become in danger of his life.
I'm not really buying that...

In custody

Why is officer Vassey not already in custody? It seems to me that there were at least two other officers present ,arn't they competent enough to determine if Vassey broke the law.Surely if two police officers were witness to a shooting they would take the perpetrator into custody and then determine whether or not to bring charges. And what is taking the SBI so long to determine if there is enough evidence to charge Vassey, they have had all the evidence(at least four eyewitnsses,dispatch recordings)from day one.Going on 5 days starting to stnk to me.

Officer Involved

Does anyone know how the Southport Officer got involved to begin with? Was he dispatched as back up since this was a domestic call which are very dangerous calls to answer and this residence was known for these kind of calls or was he there to assist on his own. I would think he was dispatched to a call of that manner.

He was told to stand by

He was told to stand by because it was okay but went anyways

You CANNOT judge all police

You CANNOT judge all police officers by one police officers actions. I too have had to call the police for assistance with one of my children. Number one, unless you have a child who can go from the nice sweet angel to an angry out of control child you will never know what it is like, As for an eighteen year old, 90 lb child being defenseless against a grown man or woman, I beg to differ with you. I for one have had assistance, with my child and at all times they have been helpful to calm her and assist me with getting help for my child. I have personally had to watch my child in a hospital fight 5 grown men who had a very hard time trying to detain her. I assure you it was not easy for them or me. They were compassionate with my child and did not press charges even though my child has scratched, kicked and bitten them in the process. I do agree that the southport officer was way out of line, but the BSL officer and the Brunswick county officer did all they could to assist with caring and compassion from what I have read. I personally do not think the other officer will walk free for his part in this confrontation but PLEASE do not judge other officers that put their lives on the line for us daily by the actions of one officer. As for me I give thanks to the officers who assist us daily when we need them.

When the good cops don't clean out the trash... all are bad

Since a civilian has absolutely zero chance of ever bringing charges against a cop, it is up to the clean cops to clean out the dirty ones.

Think about it the next time you call 911.... do you get a cop turn up or a psycho with a gun.

Police Shootong

My late husband who had serious mental health issues, met our local police at the door with a look-alike 9mm gun and he was taken into custody by ONE officer. They, like these officers knew him, and had been advised by me that the replica was an unloaded toy. My husband, at the time, was depressed and wanted to commit suicide by cop. That officer looked my husband in the eye, walked up to him and removed the gun from his hand, and asked, "What do you think you're doing?". He spun my husband around, cuffed him and called for an ambulance and my husband was admitted to the hospital by the police. When he came home, a couple of weeks later, he expressed how much he admired that cop, who bravely walked right up to him and then got him help.

Dont call police

Next time you need help, don't call the police. You are all just a bunch of bleeding heart liberal sheep!

Your Right!

If in the future, your house is broken into, or if your car is stolen, forget the cops, go look for the crooks yourself, good luck!!

First and foremost, I have

First and foremost, I have been a police officer for over 20 years. I have seen a lot of changes in the profession and witnessed good and bad police work. Though I was not there and am sure not everything has come out - or never will - it is disturbing what transpired if the facts are accurate. On its face, it appears that the BSL and BCSO officers had the situation under control and a rogue officer from Southport decided to escalate the situation and overreact with tragic consequences. I have had to work with officers like that and can tell you, no one in the police profession wants to have this type of person on the force. I read a lot of posts about the "blue code of silence" and cops "circling the wagons to protect their own" and acknowledge that is a problem, reason why I don't give out my name because to stand up and speak out against bad cops and bad police work does get you blackballed - something that is true in every profession but more so in police work since it is scrutinized so much and everybody who knows how to be a cop and what "they" should do. As tragic as this is, and, if the facts bear out that Officer Vassey used excessive force, I hope he is prosecuted and that the police community acts to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. I would like to know if Vassey was CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) certified - a program for officers to deal with mentally ill persons (and, contrary to another post, it is part of our growing job and responsibility to deal with these incidents). Unfortunately, the "old" guard of police work have been adverse to this and many forward thinking programs(some Chiefs need to retire), but I think if he had this training and used it, this would have been prevented - WWAY, do a story on CIT Training and how it may have prevented this tragic chain of events.

All police officers should

All police officers should be trained appropriately. This "good-'ol-boy" network must stop! And why would a person who has not had training on the mentally ill be sent to the scene where there is a crisis with a person that is having a psychotic break?

I could have taken away the screwdriver from this kid and I am 5 ft tall woman.

This detective needs to be charged with murder and the "Chief" needs to be fired. The police need better training and I think that ALL police officers should have AT LEAST a 4 year college degree. Before someone comes to my house I need to know that they at least have some basic analytical skills and the ability for rational thought. Otherwise, I vote for Planet of the Apes which I could probably maneuver around.

I want to see term limits set for these "Chieftans".

God I can't take the stupid anymore. This is the 21st century and I feel like I live in the Middle Ages.

There is no rational thought in Brunswick County Government. Its in the shallow end of the gene pool.

More information is needed

Similar to Schizophrenia, some autistics experience violent snaps in their teens. No one is sure why, but they have found that anti-psychotic drugs, like Risperidone, can calm these troubled teens allowing them to function normally. This was the case with my autistic son who was arrested 4 times but never convicted of assaulting me and his father. We knew that this medication would help our son, but it took a judge to order the appropriate state services to cooperate that finally got us our son back and out of Juvenile Detention.

I would be interested to know if these parents had their son on Risperidone or any other anti-psychotic. If they were struggling with the same stone wall that we did, I would be seeking legal counsel to make the responsible parties pay for their lack of action. And while it does not negate the responsibility of the police officer that shot the teen, it can explain why the police had experienced so many problems with the family in the past.

My prayers and heart felt sorrow go out to the parents for the loss of their son.

Shooters Tattoos

The shooter Bryon Vassey has a huge Grim Reaper tattoo on his calf and a bloody skull on the other. Looks like he lived up to his ink.


I have a tattoo of a shark. That must show my inner desire to swim around and snap people's limbs off with my teeth. Geez.


Have seen way worse tramp stamps....Find some better material.

The local law enforcement

The local law enforcement investigated themselves and found nothing wrong? Now that's a big shock! When is the last time you saw a law enforcement officer give a fellow law enforcement officer a speeding ticket. My Brother in law is a cop. Whenever he is pulled, he shows his badge and is given "professional courtesy." What that means is, 2 sets of laws ..1 for those in front of the badge, 1 for those behind the badge. Until this reality is addressed, law enforcement as a whole will continue to suffer credibility issues.

They have not cleared all of

They have not cleared all of the officers, just the ones who didn't pull the trigger. The one that killed the kid is still under investigation. As for your brother-in-law, I don't know anyone who will not try everything available to them in order to avoid getting a ticket.

To all of you anti-establisment, police-hating and accusatory...

...know nothings, try to gather the facts before spouting off your ignorance. You sound like a bunch of smelly 60's era hippies that spit on Vietnam Vets, adored Jane Fonda and couldn't get out of your own way in a 3 knot breeze, much less fight for your country or even attempt to become a trained police officer.

Here are a few FACTS, so attempt to wear these shoes without filling them up with your own brown sludge:

* NOBODY wanted to see this young man die! This is a horrible incident for both sides and one that will remain in all of their minds until their dying day!
* The detective from Southport is a nine year veteran. I can gurantee all of you that he is in as much pain over this as the family of that teenager.
* The police were intentionally dispatched BY THE FATHER via a somewhat frantic 911 call. This call was responded to as a domestic violence situation, the worst and most unpredictable and usually most violent calls the police encounter.
* The police have responded to calls at this residence in excess of 20 times. This clearly shows continually on-going issues that WERE NOT addressed by the family!
* The teen just turned 18 and weighed 90 pounds. ANYONE experiencing schizophrenic/psychotic episodes can and will exhibit explosive bursts of superhuman strength that can't be contained by several grown adults. Age and weight is not a factor.
* Stating that "the teen is only 18 and only 90 pounds in weight and ONLY had a TINY screwdriver that couldn't hurt anyone". So why didn't his 250 pound father that made the distress call in the first place disarm him? He was AFRAID to approach him as he knew the potential of his sons outburts. Hence the reason for the other 20+ 911 calls!

These are just a few of the basics. Now, allow the SBI to perform their investigation and refrain from accusing the LEOS of cover-ups, conspiracies and one-sided conclusions! The vast majority of people that show such disdain for law enforcement are those that have had multiple arrests and convictions and are current dregs of society, including those that are failed LEOs spouting off here!

The tale of the super human mentaly ill

Bull DOOKEY does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication; with only basic knowledge about a topic, Bull Doo key is often used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about the topic by feigning total certainty or making probable predictions. It may also merely be "filler" or nonsense that, by virtue of its style or wording, gives the impression that it actually means something.[3]
One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them. To say "Yeah, that's right, a form of assertion by ridiculing the fact(s) implying the liar believes it to be preposterous.

Not real sure if you understood who you really are, so I typed a definition for you, actually cut and pasted it. Just add (artist) after BULL DOO-KEY

I would pay a ransom, if you would just stop commenting on things you are not equipped to comment on. Now that’s a Fact!!!

90lb mentally disturbed child, screw driver 4-6 inches long, 70 seconds, Here is the problem! He had time to asses the situation “he had no time for this” then make a decision while other officers made no such comments instead they were attempting to assist the family, and then POW!!!! Shot. If he had said OH SHIT he is going to kill one of us, then all of your comments would not be BULL-DOOKEY.
One last thing if he is so innocent then why hasn’t he been cleared already, I’m betting that this one isn’t so cut and dry.
This is not some place for you to Bash Victims, lets remember the boy was schizophrenic the police officer was supposedly sane of course the boys condition is fact, the police officer is a trained professional, the boy had no choice in his behavior, the cop did, and chose to shoot, so while the cop may feel remorse (another unknown fact). The boy is dead (Fact). And two police officers obviously saw no such life threatening conditions, which would warrant death by execution. Your constant bashing of the boy and his parents is just as I have described above BULL DOO-KEY and you are the artist that best spreads the fertilizer.
Oh and if the boy was capable of Super human strength, are you implying that the officer thought that the boy would be able to either fling the screwdriver great distances and with such speed as to penetrate his vest, or was the officer incapable of fleeing the boys super speed to stay oh I don’t know three feet away from the end of his Zorro like screwdriver attack.. You should be ashamed.

Frantic 911 Call?

Are you frigging kidding me Guest-O-Matic? Somewhat frantic 911 call? Really? Listen to it again dear. The father sounds pretty cool, calm and collect to me.

First off, anyone who starts

First off, anyone who starts off a post by hurling insults at it's intended audience can forget about anything they are saying having any merit...

Everything you wrote except for the FACTS, not what you believe the officer is feeling, or what you perceive the family did or did not do, is irrelevant.

Based on the FACTS this officer DID intend to harm the kid. You do not shoot someone in the chest and not "want" that person to die. Let me try that excuse if I ever hit a cop on the side of the road. See how well that works in court.

If the cop knew he was schizophrenic why did he think it was a good idea to tase him and try to subdue him physically if he possesses super human strength? The guy walked in and by several accounts said "I don't have time for this"..."this" being trying to talk down the boy as the BSL officers were successfully doing.

If we had faith in the SBI and LEO we would gladly take their findings and move on. If there wasn't a history of good ol' boy cover ups and abuses by those in power we might not be so skeptical would we? This is nothing new. This is the culture of LEO, being held to a different standard than those they are charged to protect. So go wahhhhh if you don't like that the general public dislikes LEO.

What more can be said

Plain an simple two cops who helped Keith are cleared now they need to stand up against the rogue vigilante that took this child out in his prime. The facts are simple read all the web sites and spread the word that this will not be tolerated any longer. This family did not deserve to watch their child be murdered by this police officer. On top of that the audio of the police officer reporting the shooting lied and the facts are the originating two officers had Keith detained on the floor and in control, that is when the third officer shot and killed him. The officer that reported in the shooting claims he was in harms way,, HE WAS NOT.......

Ok people re read the

Ok people re read the article and if you have to read it again please do so. You are reading between the lines. The 2 officers that were cleared has nothing to do with the shooting they had it under control till thr Southport officer arrived and things went horribly wrong. My thing is that wect had people posting up that they should take out police officers and there families Im sure the parents of Keith would not want this to happen.

I Did Read Before I Wrote

Go back to other shooting where multiple officers have been involved. You have no idea how many shootings involve more than one officer shooting at same time nor do you know the training these officers go through to protect themselves and you. They don't get up think of I can't wait to kill someone so I can remember that the rest of my life. Let someone come after you with some type of blunt weapon. If this was such a tiny screwdriver why in the world did mom even call. Any real dad can surely take down as you call it a tiny little 90 lb boy. Let me tell you this you try to restrain a 90 to 100 lb person that has mental issues and see what happens. Their strength is unbelievable why do you think mom has looked into mental resources for her son. Please try to live in this redneck no law abiding county without law enforcement and see what you end up with. A bunch of drunks, drug addits, drug dealers and whatever else they can get away with that is illegal because over half the people in this county have no respect for any kind of authority. You can tell that by the comments being made. The officers that are not responsible have no reason to lie. It is also pretty standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting he is placed on leave with pay and you can bet he is not having a vacation as someone put it. Law Enforcement officers are human beings just like everyone else and no matter what you think they have feelings and deal with the low of low most times. Nobody gets up first thing wanting to hurt someone especially a child young adult or any human being. Try letting someone run to you with knife or screwdriver see what your reaction time is. They can stab you quicker than you can pull your gun if you let seconds pass. This is a kid that mom couldn't control so who does she call the good old boys in blue and who are you going to call when someone breaks in your house holds gun to your head rapes your wife steals your belongs. Bet it won't be your best friend, fire department, your doctor, oh no its going to be the ones that have been train to deal with explosive situations just like the parents of this kid did. They called the police. They made the decision that they could not control him. Don't expect to call the police and get warm and fuzzies. If you want that call his mother who probably has taken up for him all his life because he has a special problem and can't mentally deal with things so he just get a little explosive now and then. If it was a bad shooting the officer will be charged if he was justified he will be cleared. Lets see what comes back in this poor little 90lbs system if the parents will release that before it goes to court. Case of scizo off his medication!! Seen it many times.


First off let me express my sympathies to the family of the teen that was shot down in cold murder. This should have never led to the death of someone because the officer was "aggravated with the situation". This story is now national news as Huffington Post is reporting on it.

Second, lets go back several months ago where Wilmington, NC officers shot 4 black men and killed three. Two in front of the pizza hut after a robbery and one after a car chase after the suspect had wounded a police officer in the leg days before at a traffic stop. Why is it when a young white man is shot by the police, Wilmington and surrounding areas cry JUSTICE for his wrongful death but when three black men are shot down then its "good riddance, police doing their jobs, thugs deserved to die".

The young white man had a weapon just as the black men did here in Wilmington but yet no outrage or hateful slurs against him or his family. The black men had weapons but those thugs deserved to die.

Wilmington, you are showing your true colors.

This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with black and white. This has to do with circumstances. The incidents in Wilmington involved criminals who were refusing to respond to officer's commands to stand down. Those officers had cause to believe that their lives could be in danger. In this case, the situation was under control, according to the reports the first two officers sent to dispatch. In this case, the dead kid was being held down by two other officers when the third one shot him. The circumstances are completely different.