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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest2020

    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.

  • guest8675309

    one the highest crime cities in the state, you are intelligent!

  • guest8675309

    I don’t believe the young white man had a gun and had been robbing businesses by threatening to shoot innocent victims if they did not comply. Nice try though!

  • Tracie C

    Let me just make sure I have this straight: you are comparing armed robbers holding up a restaurant and another guy who shot at a cop in broad daylight in the middle of a neighborhood to an emotionally challenged 18 year old in his house with a screw driver? Now if that isn’t a hidden racist agenda I don’t know what is.
    I ask you: who, exactly, is showing their “true colors” here??

  • Beach Bum

    All you naysayers, who have already predetermined the outcome from your extensive experience in law enforcement from watching Cops and the real stories of the Highway patrol, going to apologize, to the officer, when the officer is exonerated of any criminal culpability?

    What about you WWAY? Going shoot some video in favor of cops protecting and serving?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  • jj

    You are right you are not a cop and never been in on something like this. The mentally ill is the most dangerous ones you can encounter. You do not know what is coming through their mind and one second they can act normal and the next they can cut your throat.

    People, I am sure only 50% will like the outcome of any investigation. However, you need to stop the putdowns on the parents and the Cops. The Cops would not have been there if the parents didn’t feel their life’s were in danger. Don’t think that someone will not go from being calm too dangerous in a matter of seconds.

    Yes, I have been there and seen it and it can happen with people that are normal and you think you can trust.

  • Deb

    Thank you and well said.

  • nc tax payer

    its a cover up. we never get the real story

  • jj

    I don’t think you are a Cop, because if you were you would know that what the news is reporting is not 100% true. If the kids was down with two officers on him do you think the other cop would have taken a shot? Remember the kid was only 90 pounds and two people on him, what would be the target?

    Also, if you were a cop you would know how dangerous mentally ill person can be and you would wait till the investigation was over to make your remarks. It has already been shown the father has changed his story a couple of times.

  • GuestUSMC

    I tend to agree with you to a degree. Police used to be a lot more professional than they are now. There are too many hot-heads and power-hungry individuals wearing a uniform. But in all fairness, the world has changed a lot over the years and they must deal with a lot more than before. There are still some good ones. Kinda hard to group them all together. The ones that were cleared were the officers that arrived before the shooter and tried to control the situation. I don’t know why Southport was called in, as the BSL police and BCSD could have handled it.

  • In case you haven’t put 2 and 2 together yet, the apparent shooting officer lives in BSL. He has a Southport address that is in BSL.
    The article doesn’t say if he was on duty or not at the time of the shooting. Maybe he was on the way home from work when he heard of the incident and didn’t have time for that, in which case he should have continued home and not stopped in to shoot the ‘victim.’
    He lives just north of the lake off 87.

  • Jen

    The internal investigation isnt over, theyre not saying that the cop that pulled the trigger is cleared, the 2 other officers from different agencies were cleared. The family even stated that the BSL and BCSO did nothing wrong, they had him calm before the Southport cop came in guns blazing. Since he is on administrative PAID leave right now, I hope they make him pay back this money once hes found guilty and let go. But that wont happen. Either way a kid is dead, a family devastated, 2 innocent cops names dragged through the mud and a dirty cop still walking the streets! Its a tragedy!

  • Dave

    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…….

  • guest 12

    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.

  • marg

    from what i have watched & read, the family called the police for assistance so they could get him to the hospital to adjust his meds. police had been to the residence before & knew the young man. the one that pulled the trigger, the southport cop, wasn’t even in his jurisdiction & from what all of the police blotter states, he wasn’t even there long enough to make an educated guess as to whether he should fire shots or not. from my understanding, he walked in & shot a 90 pound boy, who yes, had just turned 18 in december, legally an adult, and killed him at point blank range. i do not feel any pity for the officer, who saw fit to shoot this young man, in front of his parents, in his own home no less, in less than 2 minutes time. no one radioed in for back up, or ever said that keith (victim) was putting them in danger, other than the initial 911 call (he had a screwdriver & his mother was scared to death). never once did anyone actually say that he threatened ANYONE with any physical violence, threats or even self harm. i do feel sorry for the officer’s family for what they may be dealing with, but they didn’t pull the trigger. i am not saying that everyone in law enforcement in this county is bad, but there are several bad cops that make bad judgements & give the entire branch a bad name.

    and just to enlighten you, all because someone is mentally ill & may exhibit signs of being intoxicated, does not mean that they are high or on drugs.

    my heart & thoughts go out to the vidal/wilsey family. i am sure they had NO EARTHLY IDEA that calling the police dept for assistance would result in the death of their child.

  • paul

    he was tazed and the 2 officers had him down and the other officer shot him while the other two had him down

  • mark carpenter

    What makes me sick is this choice making process has become justified in every city in the nation.

  • Jason

    I have to agree with you. I only hope the Police Chief in Boiling Springs trusted his Internal Affair Officer/Detective who made the final report. Usually, during an IA investigation within a Police Department, you have to interview all the witnesses, get statements, record those involved and then submit a “thorough” report to the Chief. It amazes me that this all occurred within not only three days since Sunday, and only 2 working days later. Trying to get all the witness’ together, the family, the Officers involved in a mere two days is amazing to me. It would had been better off if the Chief had waited for the SBI to submit their final investigative report. That’s why the DA’s have mandated that all Law Enforcement Involved Shootings should be investigated by an outside agency. No matter what comes out of this, all that were involved in this situation, will effect them for the rest of their lives. My condolences go out to the family, and to all that were involved in this tragic situation.

  • James W

    Are you saying that if someone was trying to kill you or seriously injure you, that you would sit back and let that happen? Just trying to figure this out.

  • Foxy

    Best comment I heard yet…..

  • Someone who can read

    READ THE FULL STORY! Two of the THREE officers involved were cleared, the BSL officer and the Brunswick Co sheriff deputy, both of whom were PRAISED by the family for how they were trying to help Keith Vidal. The Southport police officer who died the shot has not been cleared.

    Not everything is a conspiracy, people.

  • Kandice

    Yes we need police to protect us, & no many times they do not get the respect they deserve, but we do not need someone who would within 70 seconds of arrival on the scene, decide it is justified to kill a mentally ill, 100lb. person who has been restrained by two adults, & subdued with a stun gun! The heartless JACKASS who wrote the above piece, I pray to God is not in possession of a gun or a badge. It is sad & disgusting that anyone could be that lacking in judgment.

  • Robert T. Willis

    the Southport officer was there because the BSL officers had called for backup!
    There are mutual aid agreements between municipality’s
    so technically, yes he had

  • Cindi Dulin

    I agree with you 100% your a wise police officer. Thanks so much for being an honest and compassionate human. May God Bless you & keep you safe. Thanks for your service protecting the public where you serve! Your family should be proud of you! Bless you, Cindi

  • rgm

    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.

  • guest 1441965

    Then how do you explain the comment. I do not have time for this and BAMMMMM. You are so wrong.

  • Justice123

    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.

  • haggler

    The cops have already circled their wagons to protect their “brothers”, and we’ll never find out what really happened. As soon as the cop radioed in with, “I’ve had to defend myself against the subject”, you know the fix was in. TWO MINUTES after the shooting, he was already creating a record of his “innocence.” How cold is that? A lot colder than the kid he killed.

    And when has an “internal review” EVER been completed in THREE DAYS? Answer: when it’s a complete sham. By cops, for cops.

    Our cops are increasingly militarized and hyped up on their own authority and the power of their badge. For the first time in my life, I’m afraid of them.

  • Appalled

    Appalling. I do hope the SBI intends to thoroughly investigate and is not swayed by the “blue code of silence”.

    I’m sure this good officer has his bigotry against the mentally ill, and was completely untrained to properly deal with such, and therefore needs much more than a “paid vacation”. He needs to find new training and employment altogether, perhaps scrubbing pots at Butner Federal Correctional Complex near Raleigh.

  • Bryon Chandler

    Please note the officers that have been cleared are not the ones who allegedly shot this poor child. And paid leave is standard policy. Nothing can convince me he deserved to die, but you have to eliminate the innocent participants before you can get to the guilty.


    I believe the US Justice Department needs to be notified and this officer needs to be investigated and prosecuted. my heart goes out to the family may their son rest in peace. and hopefully justice will be served. since moving to Wilmington 7 months ago I have found that the police here are out of control. I’m appalled at their day-to-day activities. I’m not saying they’re all bad apples but they do need to weed out quite a few they’re supposed to be here to protect and serve I’d like to see that take place. oh and by the way I won’t be calling one .

  • Sherry Stanley

    Apparently there is more to this story ?
    Teen – screw driver – 90 lbs. shot and killed ?
    Uh, what ever happened to ” apprehending the suspect “…or ” tazing”
    or ” pepper spray”..what, who ? Come on, is this a 30 mins. police show we’re watching..No, it wasn’t 30 mins…Come on people..This can’t be the whole story.

  • Guest Timekeeper

    I assume Vassey called BSLPD when reporters tried to interview him. Don’t know why he couldn’t have opened the door and told you he had no comment, then if you didn’t leave, call them. Guess he’s running scared. BSLPD would do well to distance themselves from him until this is resolved.

  • Reader

    The officers that have been cleared are not the officer who is on paid leave. Which indicates they are not the ones who were involved in the shooting. Even if there was wrong doing, everyone can’t pull the same trigger. Please read before you react.

  • rgm

    Well to begin with if the family could control their wonderful well behaved son then they would not have called law enforcement to their home. To begin with law enforcement’s job is not to talk to some crazy kid that’s parent can’t control. Their job is to make sure the public is safe and citizen and themselves are safe. An 18 year old is not a child he is a young man that should know right from wrong and had killed this officer it would be a totally different story with this so called child on trial. You can almost bet this was not the first visit to this property. Will be interesting to find out what kind of substances come back in his system. Police Officer don’t wake up in the morning deciding they are going to go kill some one. They wake up put a uniform on go to work at all hours of the day and night and let’s not forget holidays to protect the public from people like this young man but when they have to use deadly force oh that should not have been done. Well if you wanted someone to talk to sweet little thing you should have called his minister or his doctor. Bet you money he was of his meds for this disorder. Mom didn’t have a problem dialing 911 when he was chasing her with screwdriver. Frankly I am very glad officer was able to go home to his family which probably sees him less than you could ever imagine. Police are like fireman you only call them when you need them. Hate it for the family of the young man but I also hate it for what the police officer and his family will go through. You can bet his stress level is high too knowing he had to do this for protection.

  • Guest Reply Redux

    Good luck on this one!

  • Morons

    Why don’t you morons take the time to read the story? It says the boiling spring lakes officer was cleared in the incident, not the others… YOU are what’s wrong with America… Idiots

  • Guest98754

    Did you not all hear the family say the first two officers were great and did nothing wrong???? This press release is regarding the FIRST two responding officers, NOT the officer who shot. He is STILL under investigation and I can promise you all, there will NOT be a cover-up. The truth will come out. Most everyone can read between the lines to predict the results of the truth, that’s the easy part. However, do not cast stones at the ones who serve honorably. When the results of the SBI investigation is released, I hope you all publicly apologize to the first two responding officers. As far as the remaining officer, vent all you want, that’s acceptable and understandable. Just please listen to the family’s interview that the first two were excellent in dealing with their son. And please pray for their healing and sorrow and that they find an acceptable and peaceful way to find justice in their son’s death.

  • Police Officer

    I am a police officer. I know we should not take what is reported in the media as anything close to the facts. But why would any police officer believe a mentally challenged teenager with a screwdriver in his own home needs to be shot? More than that, two other officers were already on the scene. This is bad impatient insensitive police work. The DA won’t be able to help this shooter. Any officer that thinks a person that they know to be a mental subject with a screw driver in his own home needs to be shot should turn in their badges now. I am ashamed.

  • Sheila

    The article says that officers John Thomas and Samantha Lewis have been cleared of any wrong doing…….not the the officer who pulled the trigger. That officer appears to still be under investigation.

  • Guest4396

    It appears everything was under control until the trigger man arrived. There is no reason why all officers, except the shooter, should not be cleared.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The statement says the BSL police officers were cleared not the Southport officer who pulled the trigger and shot this poor boy. All statements thus far has said the other officers followed policy so this should not be surprising to anyone. I wanna see what the investigation into the officer who pulled the trigger leads to. That is who ended this poor child’s life and he is the one who should be held accountable!!!

  • Lisa

    This was not a BSL cop that pulled the trigger, it was a cop from Southport!

  • GuestME

    While I don’t side with the officer on this, I do think it’s interesting that in the 911 call, the father says the teen has the screwdriver and that the mother is “scared to death of him.” After the shooting, he becomes a helpless, tiny boy who couldn’t hurt a fly. Obviously his family thought he was dangerous or they would have taken the screwdriver away and restrained him themselves. No, they call Law Enforcement.

  • MG

    This story leaves more questions than answers.

    Why was Southport police involved? Was the Southport officer within his jurisdiction when he fired?

    Considering the amount of time between the BSL police arriving and the Southport officer arriving, why were BSL police able to handle the situation without gunfire? What happened in just 70 seconds that changed the situation into one that required deadly force?

    Plus, the big question, is this another cover-up in Brunswick County that is along the lines with the killing of the officer on Bald Head Island many years ago.

    I sincerely hope the SBI can get to a legitimate, honest, unbiased conclusion.

  • conrad

    The shooter has not been cleared. Only two of the initial responding officers.

  • p.d.

    RGM – how dare you presume to know what this family goes through with your sarcasm about “their well behaved son.” The police are called to help de-escalate a situation. How is it that the other two officers who were there longer, didn’t feel the need to use force. Who gave the police officer from another city the authority to act like he was in charge. A full investigation is warrented. RGM – don’t judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes.

  • Rottweiler

    I would like to thank you for your comment. This is just as you said – bad impatient insensitive police work. And, like you, I think the DA has an open and shut case. But, like my ex-Navy crypto Dad I am less likely to call the police for any reason. The reason is simple – I could get someone like you or I could get someone who is impatient and insensitive. Frankly and unfortunately, I have little chance making a convincing argument until something goes extremely wrong as in this case.

  • BillOBrien

    You are talking out of your rear end. This kid was no threat and the Southport detective made it clear what he intended to when he got there. Can you explain to me how a 90lb. kid who has two officers on him and taser probes still lodged in his skin presents a life threatening hazard to a third officer? No, you can’t explain it because there was no threat to warrant shooting this kid. Defending this officer’s actions is not helping police, if that is what you are trying to do. He murdered this kid…plain and simple. You can speculate about the family or anything you wish but, the facts are that there was no justifiable reason for is shooting. The officer who pulled the trigger needs to be arrested and soon!

  • Anonymous

    You are completely insane. This post is riddled with inaccuracies about mental illness. This was not some punk 18 year-old that was throwing a temper tantrum. He had a mental illness and was in an irrational state. THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WAS AGGRESSIVE. Families of the mentally ill often do have to involve police because there is literally NO OTHER OPTION in this area. You cannot cure schizophrenia through time outs and discipline, you flaming imbecile. Before you go lauding all that law enforcement officers have to face each morning, take a second to think about seeing your son murdered in front of you, then you can talk about perspective. I do not feel one ounce of pity for this officer. He should be locked up for life.

  • Concerned


  • Teri

    The article says the first officers had things under control and things were okay. Why WOULDN’T they be cleared? It sounds like they did their jobs correctly. It is the third officer who is the murderer.

  • portcity

    Law enforcement around the country is losing its faith anf trust in the Law Abiding Citizens of America. These sensless killing of inocent people has got to stop and happens too often, Then the officers are not punished as severly as they should be. Eventually the communities will turn against the LEO and then who will protect the officers. Seems like there are way too many bad apples to stop the rest from spoiling. Law Enforcement is trained to treat the civilians as the enemy. They do not protect and serve they command and conquer. There are many more civilians than police officers and eventually you will realize you are outnumbered by then it would probably be too late. How could a grown man not stop a very small 18 year old holding a screw driver??? Better yet three grown men!!!! If this was my son, the officer and myself would have had to accept the same fate because he would not have walked out of my house!

  • Gramps1945

    When a “innocent person”, is out of control, with a deadly weapon in his hand, the threat can be just as fatal, as if it were a guilty person. My heart goes out to this young man, his family, and the officers who survived this horrible, tragic incident.

  • jason

    That was a fast investigation. This occurred Sunday and the Boiling Springs Lake Police Dept. have already “completed” its investigation. I would like to know which Officer investigated it. Usually, Departments wait until the SBI, DA reports/investigation is concluded. And there is no way in you know what, that an Officer Involved Shooting investigation can be completed in 3 days!

  • talis4

    When will the people of this country wake up to to the militarization of the police. They are the modern day ss/gestapo, and act as judge jury and executioner. The number of people that they have killed in this country in the past 10 years is frightening.

    This cop is guilty of premeditated murder.
    Premeditated: 1st degree murder. The “fat cop” made a decision. He rationally considered the timing or method of taking the action he did. These are the elements of premeditation. He should be convicted and executed.

    Please note: He is on PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE!!!!!!!! For killing a 90 pound adolescent, he is given a paid vacation.

    No doubt, if he is indicted, he will use the “no fresh donuts” defense.

  • guest7969

    Let me give my 90 pound teen a screwdriver and have her come at you. .. see if you fear for your life. ..

  • Cabbie

    This situation is horrible. Losing a child has got to be the worst thing in the world. To be there when it took place in such a way, unimaginable. I agree with everyone saying this could not be handled in 3 days. I also agree that there is injustice being done. I grieve and pray for those parents and all others involved. However “the fat cop” is not the shooter. Yes he should be charged with recklessness, aiding and abetting and whatever else necessary but making a joke about this is not funny (no fresh donut defense). No one knows the facts except the people who were there and to judge and convict is not my job or yours! Until the facts are there we should not be the judge or jury.

  • guest, just another

    How may law enforcement officers have been killed by criminals in the past 10 years, serving their communities, being there for you. This has NOTHING to do with “militarization” of police, how in the heck do you link that into this? That’s just inflammatory.
    Premeditated? Nope, second half thought you’ve had. Premeditated is “rationally considering the timing or method of doing so, in order to either increase the likelihood of success, or to evade detection or apprehension”. You’re just stirring stuff up.
    Donuts? Really? There’s your real point. You just don’t like cops, and you’ll find some way to put a dig out there. You’re just a jerk using this kids death to voice your personal hatred. Scum.

  • Cindi Dulin

    My heart goes out to you all, you are in my thought’s & prayer’s. I hope justice is served & quickly. I don’t know your family, my sister Sue York who rents a house from Keith’s parents. I’m shocked that this could happen. May God give you all strength and help you through all of this. I’m really at a loss for words! And some of the comments being posted make me sick! May Keith RIP! God Bless you, Cindi Dulin

  • Tiffany McDaniel

    This is extremely disturbing to say the least. You call your local law enforcement for help with a mentally ill 90lb child and they end up shooting your child and is now being cleared of wrong doing? UNBELIEVABLE- completely lost for words over this story !!!!!! It will be a cold day in hell before I ever involve the law enforcement in this area in anything b/c we can see what the outcome is- they don’t have time for us. They will cover up and protect themselves only! That’s pretty sad you can’t even trust who is suppose to protect and serve. “They dont’ have time for this,” quote on quote as this officer said before shooting this child after only being on the scene for 70 seconds. So what exactly does the law enforcement have time for? Obviously not to try and help, only hurt and cover up- SICK, absolutely sickening! I know the outcome would have been different if it was his child that got shot… so disgusting

  • guest, just another

    Lets get this straight: “You call your local law enforcement for help with a mentally ill 90lb child”. Maybe, if this child wasn’t an actual threat, the family would have taken him to the hospital, or called his Dr/Therapist. But no, they called 911. His family, who knew his issue inside and out, determined that he was past passive help and was being threatened. They called for real help.
    Maybe, just maybe, you aught to let ALL the facts come out. Nobody said all the officers fired a weapon. Sounds like these two didn’t, why do you think they should be considered guilty?
    So quick to judge. I’m very curious to see the truth on this. Right now only a SMALL handful know it, you or I aren’t them.

  • Kristoph Schneider

    The office who was “cleared” was not the one who did the shooting. Remember there were officers from 3 jurisdictions there. The shooter is still under investigation.

  • guest111

    The Boiling Springs officers and deputy were cleared and the articles have said all along that they reported things were ok. It was the South Port officer who came on the scene and made the remark of not having time for this and he is the one who shot the boy. Read your article again and comprehend what you are reading. Not all the officers were in the wrong, just the one.

  • Lorelei Rivers

    If you go back and read the original story, officer John Thomas was NOT the one who did the shooting. He is the one that went to HELP with Keith, as he had before that day. Before you slam, know all the facts. The internal investigation is still underway.

  • sharon

    People REALLY need to comprehend what they read. Don’t comment if you don’t even know what you’re talking about. SMFH

  • desert eagle


  • guest 403

    I could be wrong but, wasn’t the officer that fired a southport LEO? All that has been established with this report so far is that the other LEOs on scene did not violate any laws. This speaks nothing of the Southport Officer who allegedly fired the shots. I assume that will be released soon as well…. Right?

  • John

    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.

  • Guest-o-matic

    …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!

  • GUEST1026

    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.

  • Southern Born

    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.

  • BillOBrien

    Let me shoot you with a taser and the have two officers hold you down and then shoot you because you are a “threat”. You are making up “facts” that do ot exist. The kid did not lunge at anyone with the screwdriver. The screwdriver is one of those small electronics type not some huge flat head. Sometimes, as painful as it is, you have to admit a mistake was made. In this case, it appears that the mistake was rather intentional and resulted in murder.

  • Guest488

    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.

  • victoria alvarado

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

  • guest876

    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.

  • mars

    You mean the officer who was just too lazy to drive to Lumberton for an involuntary commitment. Those take all day. Quicker to just shoot the mentally ill. Or let them hang themselves like Frink.

  • Brandon

    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.

  • Guest2020

    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.

  • dickerson

    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.

  • Beach Bum

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

  • me612

    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.

  • CarolE

    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.

  • officer001

    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.

  • Beach Bum

    First and Foremost, had you actually been a cop, you wouldn’t be second guess the police officers actions based upon yellow journalism from WWAY and Scott Pickey.

    Secondly, ANYONE armed, regardless if handicapped or not, is threat and we have the right to defend ourselves.

    Have no fear though, Town of Boiling Spring Lakes, Southport and Brunswick County Tax Payers will buy them a new Escalade, wardrobe and Play station 4, just like when New Hanover settled with the Strickland’s with their dipshit son, Peyton because the David district attorneys have already proven they will take the easy road.

  • Rottweiler

    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.

  • Timmothy Simmons

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

  • guest8675309

    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!!

  • Lisa

    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.

  • Peggy

    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.

  • Reality bites

    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.

  • TC

    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…


    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

  • lonetraveler

    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.

  • Victoria Alvarado
  • 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.

  • guest876

    Stick with it long enough and I’m sure you’ll get the opportunity to kill someone to,and how do you know he was a threat to the officer, because the officer said he was. and I suppose police officers are incapable lying too.

  • Reality bites

    Seems like you don’t know even the first clue of what you are talking about. If you are so inept with your firearm you can’t wound, you are a clear and present danger to anything with a heartbeat anywhere within range.

    You should not be allowed to own a firearm.

  • Guest2020

    WWAY is not the only media outlet reporting on this incident. The other outlets are presenting the same information. All I have read indicates that the BSL officer and the deputy had the kid calmed down before the Southport officer arrived on the scene. It has been reported that dispatch had received a message from one of the officers, before the Southport officer came in, that the situation was under control.

  • No to Beach Bum

    Your senseless comments reveal your fascist attitudes. Police are way way out of control in all aspects of “law enforcement”. It only makes the news when innocents are killed. Which is happening all too frequently…

    Random stops, random citations, racial profiling, stop & frisk, and “justified” murders by militarized police… all of it sanctioned by their overlords; the corrupt courts and lawyers who directly benefit.

    Too few news outlets ethically report on police/Court malfeasance. For without the prejudicial “Cops Say” reports to local news, what would they report during “film at 11”?

    See the big picture… USA #1 in the world for imprisoned citizens.
    No third world, communist, or crony corrupt capitalist dictatorship can beat the USA.

  • Rational

    I think we just witnessed the sad reality of the way a Police Officer should think and act and the way a Pig thinks.

    You have assumed this cop innocent just as quickly has many have assumed him guilty just because he wears a badge and also stated that his actions should not be second guessed (i.e. questioned and held responsible). I am sorry but we are all human whether mentally ill or a cop. We are all fallible and subject to mistake. Lets make a very clear distinction I feel most cops don’t get now days. There is a big difference between defending yourself and killing someone. There are way to many lethal shooting by cops in this country now days. Cops kill more people than terrorist in this country. I understand there are bad people but not all need executed on the street. One of the jobs of a police officer is to bring criminals before the court to be judged and sentenced by due process.

    Given what has been reported so far a rational and fair mind could only conclude one thing, but we do not know for sure if these are all the facts and accurate. I can say with certainty that if these reports are half way accurate there are many other ways this could have been handled. If police mentality was to protect rather than engage they could have simply backed safely out of the house and come up with a better game plan. Maybe the kid would have punched some holes in the walls but how trivial is that to the cost of human life. Do cops know how to do anything except pull a gun and shoot center mass anymore(News flash that is a KILL shot)? Yes being a Cop is a high risk job but its not the only one and it is a choice. If you are not willing to accept the risk and responsibility find another line of work.

    Lets take a look at this situation in a different light and see how it sounds. — Son has a psychotic episode grabs a small screwdriver and starts acting violent. The parents call the neighbor for a little extra help. The parents then wrestle the kid down and restrain him at which time the neighbor comes running in see’s the parents restraining the child says “I don’t have time for this shit” and shoots the restrained kid in the chest. — Boy that paints a different picture when you take the badge out of the equation.

    We have to get past this us vs them mentality that is viral on both sides of the fence. We are all neighbors with jobs and lives in the same community and country. Confidence in government is the single most important issue in unifying a country.

  • Beach Bum

    If you don’t like the allegded “police state” we live in, as a civilized society with rules, feel free to exit our society into a country that is more suited to your liking.

  • Beach Bum

    How do you know he wasn’t a threat? Because the parents, who have previously called 911 over 30 times to deal with a problem they aren’t dealing with, say so?

    Police did not call themselves out there. The parents clearly stated he was armed with a screw driver(weapon) and wanted to fight his mother.

    Use of force seems reasonable enough for me. Hope I get picked for the jury duty because the officer is acquited in my book.


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