A North Carolina police officer was indicted on manslaughter charges Monday for shooting and killing a mentally ill teen just 70 seconds after arriving on the scene.
Southport Police Officer Bryon Vassey allegedly told two other officers at the Brunswick county home “we don’t have time for this” when he Tasered and fatally shot 18-year-old Keith Vidal in front of his family on Jan. 5.
Three officers, all from different precincts, responded to a mental health call made by Vidal’s family. His stepfather, Mark Wilsey, can be heard on the 911 call stating that Vidal was trying to fight his mother and was carrying a screwdriver.
"We wanted him to put the screwdriver down because he does have schizophrenia and we didn't know if he was gonna hurt himself," said his mother, Mary Wilsey.
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The family says two other officers arrived before Vassey and had restrained the 90-pound teen and calmed him down.
Anthony Owens, a spokesman for the family, said Vidal was “becoming more rational.”
Then Vassey arrived at 12:48 pm, and 70 seconds later a Brunswick County EMS unit standing by advised that shot were fired.
"An officer from another town (Vassey) entered the residence and instructed the officers to stop talking and tase Vidal," Owens said in a statement. "As Vidal tried to flee into the bathroom adjacent to where he was standing, the two officers simultaneously shot him with their Tasers."
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His stepfather says the teen was reaching for the screwdriver when the other two cops, Boiling Spring Lakes Officer John Thomas and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputy Samantha Lewis, leapt on top of him.
Then Vassey shot into the pile, fatally wounding Vidal in the chest.
The Brunswick County grand jury indicted Vassey Monday. His bond is set at $50,000.
Southport Police Chieg Jerry Dove said the nine-year veteran had no prior disciplinary actions taken again him. He’s been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
He has until Wednesday to surrender, according to a press released from District Attorney Jon David’s office.