A North Carolina teenager suffering from a schizophrenic episode was shot and killed by an officer only seconds after arriving on the scene, the man’s parents say.
Now, as the State Bureau of Investigation probes the case, an officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.
The parents of Keith Vidal, 18, called authorities Sunday afternoon to help restrain their mentally ill son. The teen’s stepfather, Mark Wilsey, said his stepson was holding a small screwdriver and threatening his mother during a schizophrenic episode, according to NBC News.
Two officers arrived on the scene, and were able to calm the boy, Wilsey said. According to a Brunswick County police report obtained by WECT, the officer told dispatchers several times that everything was OK.
When a third officer arrived on the scene 14 minutes later, the situation turned deadly.
The victim’s family claims that while the teenager was on the ground after being Tased multiple times, an officer said “We don’t have time for this,” before shooting in between two other officers and hitting the teen, according to WBTW.
According to the report, the officer who fired the shot had only been on the scene for 70 seconds before taking the shot. The officer radioed to dispatchers that he had to fire shots in order to defend himself.
“There was no reason to shoot this kid,” Wilsey said. “They killed my son in cold blood. We called for help and they killed my son.”
At a news conference held by Chief Jerry Dove of the Southport Police Department, Vidal’s family showed up carrying signs, demanding justice for the death of their son. The family said they were not invited to the news conference.
Chief Dove said Det. Byron Vassey, a nine-year veteran of the department, was placed on paid administrative leave. Dove declined to say whether Vassey was the officer who fired the shot.
Vidal’s parents said the teenager had just turn 18, and weighed about 90 pounds. They said their daughter had recently died in a car accident, and this is the second child they will now have to bury.
“Where is the justice, why did they shoot my son?” the teen’s mother asked. “This is what’s wrong with our mental health system.”
Neighbors said that although Vidal had a history of depression along with his schizophrenia, he was not harmful to others.
According to his Facebook page, Vidal was set to graduate High School in the spring. He had also recently obtained a driver’s license.