A Memphis cop has been charged with kidnapping and murdering a man while on duty last week.
Officer Patric Ferguson, 29, allegedly forced victim Robert Howard, 30, at gunpoint into the back of his squad car before fatally shooting him and disposing of the body with the help of Joshua Rogers, 28.
Howard was reported missing at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 by his girlfriend, who said he had last been seen around 5 p.m. Tuesday, the department announced in a statement Saturday. The girlfriend used an app to track down and retrieve Howard’s cellphone, but the victim himself was not there.
Ferguson, an officer with the Memphis Police Department since 2018, reportedly encountered Howard outside the latter’s home before making him get into the squad car.
The suspect, who has since been fired from the department, then allegedly drove to another part of the city and fatally shot Howard, police said.
With the help of alleged accomplice Rogers, he then relocated the body, according to the department. Surveillance video from a nearby establishment reportedly shows Ferguson shooting into the back of his squad car.
While still on duty, Ferguson allegedly used his cellphone to search the Internet for “cleaning up crime scenes” and “how to destroy DNA evidence,” according to an affidavit reported in local news outlets.
The police officer recruited Rogers to help move the body, using bloody towels later found in his car to clean up the evidence, another affidavit states. The search of a house also turned up the revolver used by Ferguson in the fatal shooting.
According to the testimony, Rogers helped to wrap up the victim’s body before moving it temporarily to his home. The alleged accomplice then sold the vehicle used to transport the corpse, the police report states.
A body believed to be the victim’s had since been recovered, authorities said.
“No one is above the law,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said in the department’s statement. “Knowing that a Memphis Police Officer, someone who took an oath to protect and serve, made the decision to commit this horrific crime is devastating.”
In addition to murder, Ferguson was charged with kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
Rogers was charged with accessory after the fact, abuse of a corpse and fabricating and tampering with evidence.