In March, Crumley Roberts Complex Litigation Attorney David Ventura secured a $1 million settlement in a case involving a Boiling Spring Lakes teenager who was shot and killed by a Southport Police Officer at his home in 2014. The lawsuit was settled against Southport Police Sgt. Byron Vassey, the officer who fired the fatal shot at 18-year-old Keith Vidal, the City of Southport, Boiling Spring Lakes, and Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Keith Vidal’s mother, stems from a 2014 incident in which Vassey was one of three officers who responded to the family’s home in Boiling Spring Lakes after receiving a call for help. According to court documents, Vassey testified that he shot the teen, who suffered from schizophrenia and weighed 90 lbs., because he would not let go of a screwdriver as other officers attempted to calm him down.
Although Vassey was criminally charged and found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in 2016, the family’s wrongful death lawsuit was ultimately settled and paid by the insurer for Boiling Spring Lakes, which is responsible for Vassey’s actions under a mutual aid agreement.
The case, while a tragedy for all involved, gained extensive media coverage and contributed to larger conversations involving police shootings and law enforcement’s response to situations involving mentally ill individuals. It also serves to illustrate the power of our civil justice system, which provides victims with the avenues needed to pursue compensation when they suffer harm and losses as a result of negligence and injustice – even when parties are not held criminally accountable.
Our firm is pleased that David and our legal team were able to make the family’s voice heard and provide them with some semblance of justice and compensation for their profound loss.
David Ventura is a litigation attorney at our firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina office, where he has earned a reputation for his zealous advocacy and recognition by the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for recovering substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of the injured and the wronged.