Police: Shooter in deadly spree targeted officers

May 16, 2018

This bullet-riddled Evansville Police cruiser was one of 4 police vehicles to be hit by gunfire Friday night.
Credit John Gibson

An Evansville man who was killed during a shooting spree may have been mistaken for a police officer. 

Evansville Police released surveillance and body cam video from Friday night’s rampage in the 2400 block of N. Kentucky Avenue.

In one video, a female officer is heard under fire from shooter Barry Freeman – and warning other officers…

 "Guys! Get under cover!"

The officer’s car was riddled with bullets, the windows were shot out, and she narrowly missed being hit.

Another officer attempted to set-up a perimeter…

" Shut down Diamond Avenue!"

Surveillance video from a neighbor’s house shows Freeman, clad only in shorts, firing an AR-15 and a shotgun at police officers – but not at passing vehicles.

Sgt. Jason Cullum told reporters Freeman appeared to be targeting only police…

"So that leads us to believe that when he shot Mr. Kempf, due to the very poor lighting conditions on that street, all he saw was movement and believing it was a police officer advancing towards him or just within his line of sight, he discharged that shotgun."

Freeman fatally shot 56-year-old Jeffrey Kempf.

Cullum said fireworks at the end of the Evansville Otters game at nearby Bosse Field did cause some confusion…

"That initially led officers to believe he was moving to the west. An alert dispatcher got on the air and told the officers about the fireworks display and that eliminated some of that confusion at the scene."

Cullum said SWAT officer and detective Kyle Thiry ended the threat…

"We determined that Officer Thiry took his shot from 63 yards away into a dimly lit neighborhood. He fired his rifle two times. Both of those rounds hit Mr. Freeman in the chest."

Freeman died two days later.

Cullum said a combination of luck and training kept officers safe.