MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An officer with the Memphis Police Department allegedly kidnapped a man and fatally shot him while on duty.
The department said in a statement Sunday that the officer, 29-year-old Patric Ferguson, forced 30-year-old Robert Howard into the back of his squad car and drove to another location before he shot and killed the man with a personal handgun.
Howard’s girlfriend reported him missing last Wednesday evening. She said he hadn’t been seen since Tuesday. The woman told police she was able to track Howard’s phone down using an app, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Eventually, police say a body believed to be Howard’s was recovered near a city bridge.
Through their investigation, police say they were able to determine Ferguson was responsible for Howard’s death.
Ferguson was arrested and immediately relieved of duty by the police department. He’s being charged with first degree murder, first degree murder in perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
An acquaintance of Ferguson, 28-year-old Joshua Rogers, was also arrested for allegedly helping to relocate Howard’s body after he was killed. Rogers is being charged with accessory after the fact, abuse of a corpse, and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
Ferguson had been employed with the police department since October 2018.
“No one is above the law. 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. His actions were not that of a law enforcement officer and should not reflect on fellow officers,” said Michael Rallings, director of the police department. “Our investigators responded swiftly and did an outstanding job by identifying the suspect responsible. This is an example of the professionalism and dedication that is displayed daily. Regardless of who you are, our investigators will conduct a thorough investigation and will seek justice for all victims.”
The motive behind the murder is unclear at this time. Police say they’re continuing to investigate the case.