North Carolina authorities are now investigating Sunday’s fatal shooting and, when those investigations are finished, “All folks — everybody — will conclude that the officers acted appropriately,” W. James Payne told the network.
The identity of the police officer who shot Keith Vidal after reportedly saying, “we don’t have time for this,” has not been confirmed. But Southport police said one of their detectives, nine-year force veteran Byron Vassey, had been placed on administrative leave in connection with his involvement in the killing.
Police officers are routinely placed on administrative leave after shooting a suspect, as investigations into whether the shooting was justified are completed.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association spelled out a version of the Keith Vidal killing that differed from initial accounts offered by the boy’s parents.
The association said that the diminutive 18-year-old repeatedly attempted to stab a police officer with a household screwdriver. But the officer was not injured.
“We can say, based on our preliminary findings, that we are very confident that the officers did what they should have under state law,” association director John Midgette told CNN Wednesday. “It’s a very tragic situation, but we do believe the officers.”
Keith Vidal’s mother, Mary Wilsey, obviously has a different view.
“This officer who shot my son needs to be behind bars,” she said. “He needs to die the way my son died.”
Also Wednesday, police released tapes of a 911 call placed by Keith Vidal’s stepfather, Mark Wilsey in which — speaking in a calm but clearly saddened voice — he tells the dispatcher that they need help transporting their son to somewhere he can be helped, according to The Associated Press.
“We have a son who has schizophrenia. He’s not doing good we have to get him someplace,” Wilsey tells the 911 operator. “He wants to fight his mother. He has a screwdriver. He’s just, you know, he’s not doing so good. She’s scared to death of him.”
Excerpts from that call can be heard in the above video.
When police first arrived, they reported back to their dispatcher that the situation was under control with no problems. But about 14 minutes later, the Southport detective arrived and within one minute and 10 seconds, he made his statement that “we don’t have time for this,” and then allegedly shot and killed Keith Vidal.
Officers had already brought the the mentally ill teen down with tasers before the fatal gunshot was fired.
Keith Vidal had turned 18 on December 10 and was set to graduate high school in the spring.