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by Adrian Mojica
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A Georgia woman who was visiting Nashville for a bachelorette party has a warning for others after she was violently robbed at gunpoint outside the townhome they rented through Airbnb.
Kelsey Freeman says she and 7 others, mostly mothers there to celebrate a friend's upcoming wedding, had rented a townhome off Meharry Boulevard September 10 through September 12. She and three of the women in the group had hit downtown Broadway that Saturday night and were returning to the townhome early Sunday morning when the unthinkable happened.
"We were walking in through a coded entry gate and I was put in a chokehold and had a gun put to my head," Freeman says. "At first I thought I was getting kidnapped. I could see the fear in my friend's eyes and the guy was telling me to let go of my purse." Freeman says she tried to hold on to the purse and jerked away from the attacker, who released her from the chokehold and fired two shots, allowing him to rip the purse from her grasp and flee.
The two shots struck the door of the townhome where Freeman's four other friends were inside. Meanwhile, Freeman says she was experiencing a scene out of a movie outside. "My ears were ringing like you see in the movies," Freeman says. "My friends were telling me to run but I couldn't understand or hear a thing. I didn't know if I had been shot or not because the adrenaline was running and my ears were ringing so I thought I was shot."
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Freeman says Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers responded within just two minutes. "They were very good in giving me a little bit of peace after what just happened," Freeman says. However, a solution to the case remains to be found. Freeman says while the four townhomes on the property have cameras, the owner told her the camera which could have captured the suspect on video did not save the recording, leaving detectives with few leads.
Freeman returned to her home in Georgia where she says she has taken steps in learning to defend herself in the wake of the traumatic experience. "I actually have family signing me up for defense classes and classes on what to be aware of in your environment. You don't think something like this will happen to you until it does." Freeman says she now carries a taser and pepper spray with her wherever she goes and has it on the ready when she gets out of her vehicle.
She reached out to FOX 17 News after reading about a similar situation which took place on the same road, just over a half-mile from where she was staying. "Women need to check where these Airbnb or Vrbo locations are, not just the amenities in the rental," Freeman says. "Y'all see how pretty the place is on these sites but you're not seeing the area where its located."
MNPD spokesperson Kristin Mumford spoke with FOX 17 News, saying those interested in short-term rentals do want to research areas when renting and should treat staying at rentals like they would at home. "You want to lock your doors and take the normal safety precautions like you would at home," Mumford says. She adds the department is currently working with owners of short-term rentals to compile a contact list of all short-term property owners to streamline the communication process and provide owners with tips on how to keep their rentals safe.
Freeman she will come back to Nashville to visit -although it won't be anytime soon- and she is looking at the positive. "I'm just thankful the Lord was watching over me," Freeman says.
TONIGHT on FOX 17 News at 9pm, FOX 17 reporter Jackie DelPilar interviews Freeman and finds out what is being done to keep visitors safe.
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