BOILING SPRING LAKES (WECT) - The community of Boiling Spring Lakes marched Saturday night to raise awareness for mental illness. Keith Vidal was shot and killed by police after his parents called emergency services during one of his "schizophrenic episodes."
Hundreds of community members marched from Pee Dee and Lexington streets to Keith Vidal's home where he was killed early January. Family members presented photos and shared memories of Vidal at a candlelight vigil.
"Nothing is going to bring him back," said family friend Anthony Owens. "Now I am going to go to shows, do things Keith would want me to do because he's not here to do them anymore."
Hundreds of balloons were released into the air, each containing a phone number so individuals can call the number and hear the story of Keith Vidal. Family and friends say this is one more way for the word to be spread about mental illness and they hope it will spark action within other communities.
"Don't just stand there get involved," asks Owens, "if you don't you're just adding to the problem."
Representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness participated in the march. They say lack of mental illness related training for first responders is a issue and they hope this will encourage more agencies to properly train their employees.
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