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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.


Comment on this Story

  • LIF

    Just want to clarify that the real LIF (me) didn’t write the post you are referring to. I don’t know why the person replied to a post I made using my name. Anyway, I agree unless you have walk in the shoes of a person that has to care for a mentally ill love one you don’t know how hard it is. People need to educate themselves so they understand mental illness, the people who suffer from them and the ones who care for them. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website has tons of information on mental illness. They also offer classes that are very informative. I have taken them and learned a lot. Best of luck Melissa caring for your love one.

  • cops gone wild

    Well I stand corrected! Hahahaha

  • guest112

    The TV NEWS is the one that announce it as a march at City Hall in Boiling Springs at 1:00 isn’t that mid day. They did not state it was a candlelight in rememberance.

  • guest588

    Not really. Doesn’t take an idiot to know police officers enforce the laws our government makes them. You should have learned that in Elementary School if not mistaken I think like 4th or 5th grade then again in middle school and of yeah high school too. WOW. You must have missed it. If not look it up in Webster. The officer in Charlotte has just been charge not long ago in his shooting that took place in Sept. Similar situation boy was tased didn’t do down came back lots of drugs in system boy was wondering around and knocking on door at 3 in morning. Attacked officers got shot. Charges came way later so don’t expect anything any time soon if Grand Jury has to decide. And no I would NOT be police officer just someone that knows where laws are made and where they are enforced and of course we all know the court lets them GO!!! Right. Don’t even live around here Thank You!!especially not in Wilmington.

  • MelissaMarie

    And before you hit me with the grammer police, Im only a cell phone so I’m sorry for any typos.

  • MelissaMarie

    To better help you ( Let me assume you know nothing about mental health in NC ) let me give you some help with your comment. No Im not in the mental health field, but considering Im the caregiver of someone with mental illness and I have delt with is for more than 20 years I can say I know a thing or two.
    There is NO mental health in Brunswick County, we lost it over 6 years ago to cut backs, also rule to admit someone mentally ill also changed in NC. So lets say there was over 300 people seaking help and recieving care in Brunswick, and there was. When you cut services, medication and group people tend to go off their meds….this causes more crime and events. Now take the OAKS in Wilmington that only holds a certin number of people…well they are always full now with a waiting list most times and only a few beds help for emergency ( like the police or dr request )….. hummmm no with that back info. What is a family ment to do. No local healthcare, no long term facilities, full beds…you call 911 to talk them down. No ive have had to use 911, 11 times over the years. The last time the police were able to get her an emergency room at the OAKS and not make her wait. See i wish this was all easy as people think. As of right now we only have 3 facilities in NC that take the mentally ill for treatment ( these are not life long treatment …I call it summer camp) and very few assisted living homes to give long term care ( my mother now has to live in one, because I have to work )…
    Also when you said ( any idiot should know not to charge a police officer with a loaded gun pointed at you, you are probably going to get shot ) let me remoark on that…stupid comments like that start rumers, it is a fact that when he was shot he was not charging but was on the ground with two officers on him…FACT… and the mentally ill are not able to reason, feel free to stay with me and see how easy it is to make a grown person with illness eat, shower and go to bed (you wouldnt last one day with this task )
    Educate yourself before you speak of something you know nothing about. When you are will to take the time to learn the NC cargiver laws then you can feel free to post your feelings.

  • soso

    The family ask for privacy. Why doesn’t the public let it happen? Support them in what they ask. They have been through enough don’t keep it going. Let the family have their time for their memories not other people making memories over his death. The family needs this as any family does when they lose a family member no matter what the circumstances are the grieving is the same and the closure is long and hard no matter what you do.

  • LIF

    The point I was making on my previous post and obviously you missed was that…suffering from a mental illness does not make you a criminal and you should not be treated as such. Maybe my mistake was to call you a moron.

  • cops gone wild

    I guess Russian expatriate comic Yakov Smiranov 30 years ago was foreshadowing the future when he explained how the difference in Soviet police and American police could be summed up in two words”Warning Shots”.
    “I like how American police fire warning shots first and the Soviet police just shoot you and say let that be a warning to everyone else.”

  • LIF

    Keith’s immediate family did not set up the gofundme website. A friend of the family did because he wanted to raise funds to help the family with the all the expenses they are having associated with his dead. The average cost of a funeral is about $9,000.00. This was his way to show the family he cares about them. Since you don’t have first hand knowledge about the family you should not judge them!

  • guest 588

    So much for wanting to deal private now they want a march. All they want is the attention so sad to use their son for attention. Let the poor boy rest in peace and let justice be done. There are a lot of people in this world that’s has to deal with the injustice of the legal system when their loved ones have been hurt but its not the police officers that make the laws you need to look at Raleigh and who we elect.

  • cops gone wild

    You are absolutely right 588, you must be a police officer with your knowledge of how laws are made in NC.and how the drug testing procedures work in the WPD.So tell me, arn’t these laws supposed to be applied equally or is that the part of the law you prefer not to speak about.Any body else would have already been locked up.

  • Toni bauer

    I am a resident of the Seattle area, and a former Georgian with family from the beautiful state of North Carolina. The tragic story of the schizophrenic boy restrained by 2 officers and murdered in cold blood by no less than a detective has left me sickened and disgusted.

    Earlier today, I watched a video in which 3 London police officers, who do not carry weapons, subdued a highly aggressive axe wielding, full grown man who was attempting a burglary, without any harm to themselves. I am not suggesting that US police officers go gunless, but that too often, their first, rather than last response is to open fire. This is hardly endemic only to small towns. Very similar instances have occurred in Seattle.

    Earlier, I contacted the new mayor of Seattle, who is currently searching for a new police chief. I referenced a similar well known Seattle case, along with the Boiling Springs incident, of which, I would be willing to bet, he is aware. I urged him to find a chief willing and able to lead the police department to a humane and safe way of handling responses to calls involving the mentally ill, disabled, or impaired.

    I have long sympathized with and admired police officers for the many dangerous situations they encounter for relatively little pay, and often, inadequate appreciation. I have mourned for officers viciously slain in the line of duty. Nonetheless, I have lost confidence in the ability most officers to handle situations such as this. I fear more and more, often ill equipped families will feel forced to avoid calling officers for assistance in such situations.

    I pray that this situation will be thoroughly and fairly investigated, not just another white wash of an investigation, and that justice will be served. People across the country, I dare say, the world, are watching.

    Toni Bauer

  • Zac Hobson

    This is why we pay the police. They have to make instant decisions. The perp was dangerous or his parents would not have called police. This perp was asking for it by wielding a screwdriver after being told to drop it. The parents should understand the difficulties of being a cop. On the upside this perp wont be a danger anymore.

  • LIF

    Read the last paragraph again. Community members are organizing the candlelight vigil not the family. The family is not looking for attention. They don’t needed what they need is justice.

  • guest12

    For the time being we should ALL retract our comments and let this poor family grieve and reflect on the goodness of his life. Im sure with this post I will have shitty comments from both sides. I have read many comments from wect and wway that people should start taking out LEO and there families Im sure this is not what Keiths family would want.Think before you act.

  • LIF

    Are you freaking kidding me? He was an 18 year old that was suffering from an illness. His parents called police because they wanted help calming him down and needed help transporting him to the hospital so he could get the care that he needed. The safest way to transport a person who needs the kind of medical attention Keith needed is in ambulance. Hence the reason his parents called the police so the paramedics could take him to the hospital. He was not a rapist, a killer, a bank robber. He was a young man that suffered from a mental illness. He was not a criminal…you moron.

  • LIF really

    Is this all you have to do with your time is defend this kid and his family that has told about 5 different stories of what really happened. If he was not a threat why did the family call the police 32 times in the past 6 years. Why didn’t the family just take him to the hospital if he was so easy to calm down. They could have done the same thing they call 911 to do? I don’t think you are doing the family any justice. Any idiot should know if you charge a police officer with a loaded gun pointed at you, you are probably going to get shot. After 32 phone calls time was up.

  • cops gone wild

    I’m sure Vassey was thinking the same thing 32 times is enough.

  • kevinjj

    Right. AKA Family. I still can’t believe this family was on Facebook the day after he was killed asking for $30,000 of donation. For What. Told me all I need to know about them If that was my kid I would have been so upset the last thing I would be thinking about was donation.

  • guest11

    POLICE did not go to this house on their own. Family called!! If family can’t handle their children maybe they don’t need any. Ever try to wrestle a 2 or 3 year old that is having a temper tantrum and weighs maybe 30 lbs?? Must of us have at some point and are out of breath. If family hadn’t called police wouldn’t have been there and 50/50 chance boy would be alive and mom dead with boy in jail since she was the one that was scared. Family called not police. The police don’t come knocking at your door for a friendly visit just to chat about how things are going. MOM and DAD couldn’t handle him!!!!

  • Beach Bum

    So he is less of a criminal because he is not affiliated with a gang or 200lbs or raping folks, robbing banks and so on?

    If you need to be hit by the bullet to know when you are being fired upon, please do not stand anywhere near me…

  • Beaach Bum

    So the real failure in this situation was the parents not parenting and getting the appropriate level of care for their child?

    Good. Lock the parents up for felony child abuse and throw away the key.

  • Angela g

    If 3 adult police officers can’t handle a 90 lb. high schooler, they should NOT be on the job!!!

  • LIF

    Hmmm…less of a criminal. Does having diabetes makes you a criminal? Schizophrenia is an illness just like diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world.

    Just like diabetes and other chronic illnesses, schizophrenia can be treated. Unfortunately, psychiatry is not an exact science and it takes time and a lot of trail and error before finding the right treatment for the patient. With support, medication, and therapy, many people with schizophrenia are able to function independently and live satisfying lives.

    In my humble opinion, having an illness does not make you a criminal any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a burger!

  • MelissaMarie

    Thank you for your reply. Im aware of NAMI, ive been a member for 6 years now, they are a great group for support.

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