2 In Custody following Pursuit from Ash Fork to Williams – One Suspect Fired shots at Civilians and a Deputy

March 28th, 2017 at 12:25 PM

March 28, 2017 – At approximately 10:45 AM, yesterday, March 27, 2017, a YCSO K9 deputy initiated a traffic stop on east I 40 near Ash Fork on a maroon Kia sedan for a moving violation. The vehicle pulled to the side of the road and stopped. As the deputy approached the driver, later identified as 31-year-old John Freeman, he began to speed away. The front side passenger door then opened and the passenger tried to jump out, but got tangled in the door and was dragged by the moving vehicle as it accelerated.  The vehicle then stopped again and this passenger was able to free himself and roll onto the shoulder of the highway. The subject vehicle then sped away. The passenger sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized.

While continuing driving eastbound on I-40 at high speed, Freeman fired a handgun out the passenger side window striking the driver’s side body of a motorhome which was also eastbound on I-40. The projectile was later recovered from the motorhome. The K9 deputy caught up to the suspect vehicle and continued following it with lights and siren activated. The vehicle continued to flee at speeds between 100 and 120 mph on east I40.

The vehicle entered the Williams area at over 100 mph when the engine appeared to malfunction and began spewing white smoke. At exit 165, the vehicle exited and turned right onto Highway 66. As Freeman negotiated the right turn, he tried to jump from the still moving car and got caught in the door frame. Freeman was dragged by the vehicle down an embankment and crashed into a tree. Freeman then freed himself and began to run into the woods. At the same time, the rear seat passenger, later identified as 30-year-old Gideon Eads, climbed out the rear passenger side door and also began to run. When Freeman was crossing a wire fence near the crash site, he discharged a firearm into the ground. As he continued to run into the woods, Freeman turned toward the K9 deputy and fired another round at the deputy. Eads was caught within minutes of the crash and Freeman was apprehended several hours later after an intensive search involving YCSO deputies and multiple assisting agencies including the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety.

The subject vehicle was subsequently determined stolen from Kingman, Arizona, and displayed fictitious plates.  A search of the stolen vehicle revealed glass pipe drug paraphernalia in the trunk.

Freeman later admitted knowing the Kia he was driving was stolen, discharging the weapon out the passenger side window of the moving vehicle, and possession of pipes he used to smoke methamphetamines. Freeman has a previous felony conviction from Oregon for vehicle theft and a warrant for drug related charges out of Kingman, AZ. After apprehension, Freeman voluntarily led deputies to where he had hidden the gun. The gun was recovered.

In an interview, Eads, the rear seat passenger, described the efforts of the front seat passenger attempting to get out of the vehicle and being dragged by the car as Freeman accelerated away. Eads also confirmed that Freeman fired a shot out the passenger front window of the moving vehicle, and described witnessing Freeman turn and fire one shot at the deputy. Eads claimed he was in fear for his life due to Freeman’s actions.

Eads was booked for a single charge of Vehicle Theft and remains in the Camp Verde Detention Center. Bond will be set later this afternoon.

Freeman was booked on charges including Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Injury, Drive by Shooting, Discharging Firearm at a Structure, several counts of Endangerment, Vehicle Theft, Fleeing Pursuing Law Enforcement Vehicle, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Prohibited Firearms Possession. He also remains in-custody in the Camp Verde Detention Center. Bond will be set later this afternoon.

The front seat passenger, who was able to escape from the vehicle during the initial traffic stop, was not charged. Initial reports indicate he had simply hitched a ride with Freeman and Eads.

YCSO again thanks all the assisting law enforcement agencies who aided in the search effort. We would also like to thank the staff of Bearizona and it’s patrons for their cooperation throughout the incident.

Eads, Gideon Michael
Freeman, John Dale











**** The below information is content from yesterday’s series of media releases –

9:45 pm – Final update tonight – The handgun used by suspect Freeman has been found. The attached photo shows Freeman under escort.. Again, thanks to the community for your support. YCSO also appreciates the help of the many law enforcement agencies who assisted in this search including the Coconino Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety.

We are glad to report that residents in the town of Williams can rest peacefully tonight.

Case details are expected late tomorrow..


6:09 pm – SUSPECT FREEMAN IN-CUSTODY – About 15 minutes ago, suspect Freeman was located in a culvert about ½ mile south of the I 40 along exit 165 near Bearizona.. He was arrested without incident.. see attached photo – the suspect turned away when the photo was taken… the search for the firearm continues —

Details on the investigation will follow tomorrow –

Thanks all for getting the word out about this dangerous suspect….


4:36 PM- Suspect Freeman is 31 years old….


3:45 PM – Please see the attached photos which will better resemble the suspect’s current appearance — I have also attached a photo of the suspect vehicle at the termination of the pursuit. Detectives are gathering evidence at this time. The suspect vehicle has been reported stolen out of Kingman, AZ.

Freeman has still not been caught and remains ARMED AND DANGEROUS – Call 911 immediately if you see the suspect. The search remains active adjacent to the I40 at milepost 165 east of Williams. Please stay out of the area….


2:30 pm – there were actually 3 suspects involved in the incident – the first suspect was thrown from the vehicle at the traffic stop scene near Ash Fork and is in custody– a second suspect, adult male, was caught shortly after the vehicle crashed in Williams – the third suspect, Freeman, fired a shot and ran from the vehicle and is still being sought.



1:30 PM –At approximately 10:45 AM, a YCSO K9 attempted to stop a maroon 4 door sedan for a traffic violation east I40 in the Ash Fork area. As the vehicle failed to yield, a male passenger appeared to be thrown from the vehicle and was detained. A k9 unit continued following the vehicle as speeds in excess of 100 mph. The vehicle apparently became disabled and pulled off at milepost 165 near the Bearizona attraction and crashed into a culvert. This suspect fled from the vehicle and fired at least one shot towards deputies from a handgun. The suspect may be injured.

He is identified as John Freeman – HGT/600 WGT/170 EYE/HAZ HAIR/BROWN SMT/TAT ON LEFT ARM – photo is attached –

May be wearing denim shirts and denim pants..  

This suspect is ARMED AND DANGEROUS – Several law enforcement agencies and SWAT teams are coordinating search efforts in a large radius around I40 and milepost 165. If anyone sees the is suspect, call 911 immediately. DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS IN THIS AREA… SUSPECT HAS A WARRANT OUT OF KINGMAN…

Schools in the Williams area are on lockdown.  Please share the photo and suspect description immediately –

This is a very fluid situation –updates as they become available.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov


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