Grand jury indicts Southport cop in shooting death of teen

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Submitted: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:06am
Updated: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 4:30pm

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County Grand Jury has indicted Southport police officer Bryon Vassey on voluntary manslaughter charges in the death of Keith Vidal, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Vidal was shot and killed in Boiling Spring Lakes Jan. 5.

A judge set bond for Vassey at $50,000 secured. Ofc. Vassey has until noon Wednesday to turn himself in.

We spoke with Vidal’s father on the phone after the ruling. Mark Wilsey told us that the family is pleased with the ruling, but had hoped Officer Vassey would be charged with murder.

Two other officers involved, Ofc. John Thomas of the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department and Dep. Samantha Lewis of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s office, were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by an investigation by the SBI.

Vassey’s attorney has said Vidal was trying to stab one of the officers with a screwdriver during an altercation at his family’s home, and that Vassey acted appropriately. Records show Vassey shot Vidal less than two minutes after arriving at the home.

A news conference is scheduled at the DA’s Office tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the case.


  • portcity says:

    Now if the father and mother would have pulled a weapon and shot the officer would that have been a justified shooting. That is how it should have went down!!

  • Emily says:

    The loss of this young man cannot be reversed but it certainly flags that better law enforcement and training is needed. When Ethan Saylor died under similar circumstances in Maryland last year the state took action at the governor’s request. Officers need to know more about people with disabilities and mental disorders to act appropriately, lives might be saved going forward:

  • RealityCheck says:

    It’s sad that another young life is lost. I’m sure the boy’s parents constantly think of all the things that the future may have held for this young man. From the comments posted here and other sites similar to this, everyone admits that Law Enforcement has a difficult and dangerous job to do. Attacking a police officer with any type of weapon is a bad idea. I also understand that there was some mental illness involved here. But the truth is that an officer has to protect themselves too. Just like the parents of this boy did. They protected themselves by calling for help. It’s sad that it didn’t turn out the way they were hoping. Like we were all hoping! That boy was acting crazy enough to make his beloved parents call the police on him. The police came, tried to handle it, and eventually it was handled. Sadly, but handled. If the boy was attacking the parents and one of them shot him, would we be so quick to judge? Too bad that officers now have to go through the court system to show that they did their job. But that’s our society. I’m so sorry for the loss of this young man. I’m angry that there aren’t enough resources available to treat mental illness. But I’m also sorry that this officer has to go through this as well as live with the memory of this horrible day.

  • Old Barn says:

    This looks like a situation where a taser could have been used to stop the attack on the officer without having to shoot the fellow in his own home.

  • Dustin Adams says:

    Im sorry, but a 100lbs kid with a screwdriver vs 3 police officers and Vassey acted appropriately? Seriously?? What a crock.

  • As someone with seven current or retired relatives who have worked in law enforcement, I have high respect for the difficulties they encounter. When police officers bring shame to the profession, however, I have no stmpathy. The Southport police officer who killed a subdued teenager should have been indicted for murder, not just manslaughter.

  • Guest2020 says:

    If you had any clue about the justice system, you would know that these cases drag out. It will probably be some time before this case gets to trial.

    The purpose of a bond is to guarantee that the defendant will show up for his court dates. One of the things it is based on is flight risk and the severity of the charges. Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser charge than first or second degree murder and given this man’s ties to the community, he doesn’t pose a great flight risk.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Why did it tak so long for the SBI to indict on of its own. Anybody else would’ve been tried already in a court of law plus a MUCH HIGHR BOND!

  • Stan Vaughn says:

    Are you serious? The SBI does not control when the grand jury meets. They go when the District Attorney subpoenas them.

  • Confounded says:

    If they had been tried why would they need a bond? I musta missed part about being indicted by SBI. Thanx for clarification

  • guesty910 says:

    You watch too much Law & Order, our judicial system is slow. This wont go to trial (if it does) until 2015 or 2016.

  • Process says:

    I am sure they had the charges prepared for a while now. The grand jury meets the first week of the month, so they had to wait to present the charges to them until then. That is the difference between a grand jury indictment and an on view arrest. This is the normal process for anyone being indicted, not just “one of their own”as you say.

  • guest 12 says:

    They do idiot..

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …as ruled that we can’t drug test public housing recipients for drug use. You know people in the places where all of the shootings and drug deals happen, but the peeps aren’t really doing the drugs?

  • DollarDivots says:

    Why is not drug testing mandatory for a cop when they kill or shoot a citizen? For that matter, there should be lots of other reasons they should be drug tested, imho….

  • Pity says:

    You mean the lady with the gun? Try to keep up.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …because they couldn’t handle her weren’t there to complain about it and make accusations.

  • zenobia says:

    Didn’t they just shoot a suicidal woman who’s boyfriend called for help? Where is that full story?

  • Barbara McCartney says:

    Thank you!!

  • The neglect and non feasance of mental health care is monumental.

    Can we believe science is doing what it is doing but psychology cannot deal with simple, common abberations such as schizophrenia? Science of the mind has been blocked by the church and government protecting the ultimate methods of secrecy from understanding and working directly with the unconscious mind.

    Hippocrates rolls over in his grave as humanity FAILS to thrive within contrived, unreasonable fearful ignorance.

    See my site for documentation of citizens extensive deprivations of justice and abridging of freedom of the press so no one knows the truth.

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    Don’t be surprised if “temporary insanity” of the officer charged is presented to a jury.
    Providing the officer does not claim temporary insanity, in reference to the moment he shot this young adult, and then doesn’t come across with the “Plea Bargaining” process…here’s his court trial:

  • malchjrc says:

    I’m happy to see this mess is going to be put in the hands of a jury instead of dismissed behind the closed doors of various Gov. investigative agencies. I’m not a cop hater and I respect that they have a difficult job, but they should nonetheless be held accountable for their actions regardless. A strong case for voluntary manslaughter seems evident in this instance, and I hope serves to remind law enforcement that the rule of law applies to them as well as the citizens they are sworn to protect. At the very least I hope this officer is never allowed back on the street with a badge or a gun.

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