HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - December 14, 2007. Huntsville police officer Eric Freeman is shot in the head after responding to a traffic accident on Bailey Cove near Weatherly Road. He died the next morning at Huntsville Hospital. Almost six years after his death, one of Eric’s sons is planning to honor his dad’s memory and that of another fallen police officer next spring.
Cameron Freeman was only 11 when his dad was gunned down. He'll be 18 when the 2014 Police Unity Tour rolls around next May, old enough to ride 250 miles in memory of his father and another officer who died in the line of duty this year. Cameron says, “I just want to be able to do that for somebody else and let them know that somebody else is there for them.”
The bicycle ride starts in Portsmouth, Virginia May 9th and ends May 12th in Washington, D.C. The website says it all, “We ride for those who died.” Someone rode for Eric the year after he was killed.
Cameron says it was a special moment when he got the bracelet that rider wore in memory of his dad. When Cameron finishes his ride, he'll try to get the bracelet he wears during the ride to the family of the officer killed in the line of duty this year. He’ll also wear one he'll keep. “I’m going to wear my dad’s as well during the ride,” he told us.
Cameron's sister, Emily, is only 13 but is proud of what her brother is doing for their dad and another fallen officer. She added, “Someone rode 250 miles and someone actually took the time and did that for your dad who was an officer so just that amount of respect that someone had for him, that's a good impact.”
Eric Freeman's mother, Beverly, says the officer who rode for Eric in 2008 just happened to pick them up from Arlington to take them back to their hotel during police memorial week. When he found out Bev and Kelly Freeman were Eric's parents, he gave her the bracelet he wore in their son's memory. Beverly says, “I feel very honored that Cameron is going to be wearing that bracelet because that’s his dads. It was for his dad. You know, it’s been a very difficult time.”
At the same time, she knows Eric would be happy to know Cameron and one of his grandfathers will be riding in the spring.
"He'd be so proud of him, just so very proud," she said. "And I know he’s looking down on us right now. He knows all about it and he's probably the biggest support that boy’s got right now is his dad. I’m a true believer in that."
Eric Freeman's family and friends will gather at the Po Boys Restaurant on Andrew Jackson Way in Five Points to remember him Saturday night. They'll also be taking donations. Cameron needs to raise $2,000 for the ride. That money will go to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington. The public is invited but if you can't make it, go to Firstgiving.com to donate and help Cameron and the other members.
WHNT News 19 extends a special thank you to David Neal for the use of his photographs from the Police Unity Tour website.