Officer Patric Ferguson allegedly used his .357 Taurus personal revolver to force Robert Howard into the back of his squad car before fatally shooting him and disposing of the body with the help of Joshua Rogers, 28, who has been charged as an accessory to murder.
Memphis police said in a statement that they received a missing persons call Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m. from Howard’s girlfriend who said he was last seen around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The girlfriend used an app to track down Howard’s cellphone, which she retrieved. But Howard was not there.
Police say their own internal investigation led them to Ferguson, who reportedly encountered Howard outside a home and forced him into the squad car. He then drove several blocks away where he allegedly shot and killed Howard before working with Rogers to temporarily store the body. Surveillance video from a nearby establishment reportedly shows Ferguson shooting into the back of his squad car.
According to an affidavit reported in local media outlets, while on duty, Ferguson used his cellphone to search “cleaning up crime scenes” and “how to destroy DNA evidence.” He allegedly also bought cinder blocks, chains, and padlocks with the intent to hide the body.
A second affidavit says Ferguson recruited Rogers to help move the body and that the bloody towels found in his car were used to clean up the evidence. The search of a house turned up Ferguson’s revolver used in the fatal shooting.
The affidavit also says that Rogers worked with Ferguson to wrap up Howard’s body before moving it to his home temporarily. Rogers then sold the vehicle he used to transport the corpse, which was later retrieved, according to the police report.
“No one is above the law,” Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said in a 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. His actions were not that of a law enforcement officer and should not reflect on fellow officers.”