911 calls reveal that a North Carolina officer shot a mentally ill teenager barely a minute after having arrived at the scene. Craig Reck of NBC station WECT of Wilmington, N.C., reports.
Two of the three North Carolina officers present when police shot and killed a mentally ill teenager have been cleared, authorities said Tuesday.
Keith Vidal, 18, of Boiling Spring Lakes, was shot and killed Sunday afternoon. Vidal's parents accused an officer of stunning their son with a Taser and then shooting him in cold blood as he lay restrained on the ground.
Jerry Dove, chief of the Southport police, one of the three responding agencies, confirmed that Det. Byron Vassey, a nine-year veteran of the department, had been placed on administrative leave.
Dove wouldn't say whether Vassey was believed to be the officer who fired the shot, but the two other agencies involved — Boiling Spring Lakes police and the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office — said Tuesday that their officers had been cleared of wrongdoing.
In a statement Tuesday, Boiling Spring Lake Police Chief Brad Shirley said that an internal review found that "there is no indication that departmental policy or state law was violated by the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department officer."
Shirley said he couldn't comment further because the case is under state investigation.
A spokeswoman for the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, told the Wilmington Star-News there was "no violation of policy" and that its deputy was still on duty.
Asked for comment Tuesday, the sheriff's office referred NBC News to a story in the Star-News that quoted Vidal's stepfather, Mark Wilsey, as praising its deputy.
"She was great," the Star-News quoted Wilsey as having said, referring to Deputy Samantha Lewis.
Wilsey told reporters Monday that their son posed no threat when he was shot. In fact, he said, it was the family itself that had called police to help subdue Vidal because he was holding a small screwdriver and threatening to fight his mother during a schizophrenic episode.
The situation appeared to be under control, with two officers restraining the 90-pound Vidal, when the third officer arrived and shot the young man point-blank, Wilsey contended.
"Then all of a sudden, this Southport cop came, walked in the house [and said]: 'I don't have time for this. Tase him. Let's get him out of here,'" Wilsey said.
After the officer used a stun gun on Vidal, "he hit the ground [and] this guy shot him," Wilsey said.
Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David said the State Bureau of Investigation was investigating, as is standard in all officer-involved shootings.
David promised "that I will go wherever the truth leads in this case."