BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — Boiling Spring Lakes is a small town getting big coverage. It’s all because of the story of Keith Vidal.
Sunday a Southport officer shot the 18-year-old. The officer’s attorney says Vidal was trying to stab another officer with a screwdriver.
Now many involved just want to deal with what happened in private.
Joseph Guseman knew Vidal very well.
“I’ve known Keith since the 6th grade,” Guseman said. “I had a lot of classes with him. And then a lot of my friends knew him, so we started hanging out a lot.”
The 18-year-old also knew Vidal had schizophrenia.
“I know he had a lot of issues at the house, but it never showed up to me,” Guseman said.
So when he found out his 18-year-old friend had been shot by Southport Det. Bryon Vassey during an incident Sunday he says it really angered him. And now that the national media is also covering the story, Guseman says he’s sad.
“We’ve kind of been known for the wrong things, and it’s kind of a shame that we’re getting national news for something like this,” Guseman said.
As more and more news organizations pick up the story, Vassey’s attorney James Payne says his client was just doing his job during a highly-stressful incident.
“One cannot possibly comprehend all of the things that a law enforcement officer must take into account,” Payne told WWAY by phone last night. “We don’t know yet is what in fact caused the young man to react the way he did.”
Meanwhile Adrian Iapalucci, the attorney for Vidal’s family, issued a statement that reads in part, “At this time, the family wishes to focus on the wonderful memories that they have of Keith and that this is a time to celebrate his life… We believe that justice for keith will not be served by trying this case in the media.”
Guseman hopes the media can shed a more positive light on such a negative situation.
“We all look out for each other, and a lot of knew Keith and and a lot of knew his family and it’s just awful what happened,” Guseman said.
All parties involved say they have faith in the SBI and just want to let the agency do its investigation.
Meanwhile family and friends of Vidal are saying their final goodbyes. There was already one visitation for Vidal today. There will be another one tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at Brunswick Funeral Home on NC 211. Funeral services will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Southport.
Then next Saturday, Jan. 18, community members will hold a candlelight vigil from 6 to 8 p.m. on President Road in Boiling Spring Lakes near Vidal’s family’s home. Organizers say they’re not taking sides. They just want to pay tribute to his life. You will also be able to make donations to the family if you wish.