ROCKY MOUNT: Teen's shooting resonates with neighborhood's youth - WRBL

Death of Rocky Mount teen resonates with neighborhood's youth

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Police said 15-year-old Brian Tyrik Freeman was shot in the 700 block of East Highland Ave. in Rocky Mount. Police said 15-year-old Brian Tyrik Freeman was shot in the 700 block of East Highland Ave. in Rocky Mount.
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -

The murder of a 15-year-old on a Rocky Mount street corner over the weekend is sending a chill through kids his age in the community.

Outreach workers say teens are frightened by what appears to have been a gang-related drive-by shooting early Saturday morning.

Police said 15-year-old Brian Tyrik Freeman was found in the 700 block of East Highland Ave. at 12:06 a.m. Saturday. The teen was pronounced dead on scene from what investigators said a gunshot wound sustained during a drive-by shooting while he walked down the street.

"I heard about six or seven shots and came outside," recalled neighbor Ernest Harrison. "When I did, 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. He was dead."

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.

"They're 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."

In the battle for the hearts and minds of these teens, outreach workers hope they have the right strategy.

"We give them everything that the gangs are trying to give them -- a sense of belonging, a sense of usefulness, a sense of power, influence and competency," Green said.

Police said they are continuing to pursue leads in the case but haven't made any arrests.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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