Slain teen has local connection

Published 9:23am Monday, January 27, 2014

ROCKY MOUNT – Police investigators here are probing the murder of a 15-year-old with Hertford County connections

Brian Tyrik Freeman of Rocky Mount was found in the 700 block of East Highland Avenue at 12:06 a.m. last Saturday. The teen was pronounced dead on scene from what investigators said was a gunshot wound sustained during a drive-by shooting, perhaps gang related, while he walked down the street, according to a report filed by wncn.com.

According to local reports, Freeman briefly lived in Harrellsville earlier in his young life. He still has family there and will be buried in Harrellsville’s Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery following a 12 noon funeral service on Monday, Jan. 27 at Greater Joy Baptist Church, Rocky Mount. Wilder’s Funeral Home of Aulander is handling the arrangements.

Reports published online revealed that Freeman was walking with a friend along East Highland Avenue when shots rang out from a passing car, striking the Rocky Mount Senior High School freshman.

“I heard about six or seven shots and came outside,” said Ernest Harrison who lives in the area where the murder occurred. “When I did (come outside), I saw him lying there. I went in the house to call an ambulance, and when I came back out he wasn’t moving anymore.”

In the neighborhood where Freeman was killed, there are whispers of gang activity in connection with the shooting.

The gangs and outreach workers like those at the Boys and Girls Club are battling for the attention of same teens. The organization is trying to pull as many teens as possible away from the gangs who they say are recruiting younger and younger kids.

“(The gangs) are recruiting very early now — going into the middle schools and getting a lot of these young kids,” explained Ron Green with the Boys and Girls Club and Nash and Edgecombe Counties.

Green said the kids who are coming to the Boys and Girls Club are affected by Freeman’s murder because his death is hitting home.

“Some are really afraid right now,” Green said. “Not afraid of retaliation, but afraid they won’t get the chance to grow up and be what they want to be in life.”

On Monday, friends and family gathered at Martin Luther King Park in Rocky Mount to remember the 15-year-old and raise money for his funeral. They marched with signs, all in hopes of making a change and getting justice for Freeman

Although Freeman was hit, his friend was able to run for cover. Freeman’s aunt says the teen was too upset to march with the family.

“He’s not doing well at all; he feels like he let Brian down because Brian got hit, and to avoid the bullets he had to keep going. He’s having a really hard time,” said Gloria Deans.

Family members say the violence is nothing new in Rocky Mount and that random gunshots rang out in the same neighborhood just a month ago. The victim’s older cousins hope the community learns from their pain.

“Kids, young teens, shouldn’t have to worry about those type of things when they’re walking home,” said Robert Freeman.

“You just never imagine them going before you,” added Brandis Freeman.

This is not the first time tragedy has hit this family. Family members said the victim’s mother has an older son in a nursing home. He suffered brain damage after being hit with a car on his bike a few years ago.

Those wanting to help the family offset the teen’s funeral costs can visit www.giveforward.com and search for the Brian Freeman Memorial Fund.

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