MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of the man killed allegedly at the hands of a Memphis Police officer says the officer was angry 30-year-old Robert Howard was dating another officer on the force he used to date.
Investigators say former MPD officer Patric Ferguson admitted to kidnapping, then shooting, and killing Howard in the back of his squad car, while on duty and then dumping his body.
Ferguson also said he recruited his friend Joshua Rogers to help him move Howard’s body.
“This is one of the most despicable acts that I’ve dealt with,” Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings said.
Rallings says now his team works to make sure Ferguson is held accountable.
“And I hope he never sees the light of day. The fact that this young man was murdered by a Memphis Police officer is sickening,” Rallings said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement on the incident, extending his condolences to Howard’s family.
“The loss of life is always tragic, and I feel for the Howard family. With respect to Mr. Ferguson, no one is above the law, and the fact that he was a police officer who took an oath to protect and serve others makes this murder even more tragic,” Strickland said.
Ferguson faced a judge by video call for a hearing Monday. He told the court he did not yet have a lawyer.
“This is step one in what’s probably going to be a long process,” Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman said.
No one answered at the Frayser home where Howard, a father of three, was initially reported missing last Wednesday. Howard’s family said it his girlfriend, who reported Howard missing, is also a police officer, and used to date Ferguson.
Memphis Police would not confirm that information to WREG-TV. But throughout their investigation detectives connected Ferguson to the disappearance.
Records say searches through his cell phone history showed him looking up how to clean up crime scenes. They also tracked down video of him purchasing cinder blocks, chains, and padlocks used to hide evidence.
Investigators also found surveillance they say shows Ferguson shooting Howard while he was on-duty.
Detectives say Ferguson admitted to kidnapping Howard and then shooting him on the job. Additionally he admitted to dropping his body, which was later found near Second Street and the Wolf River Bridge.
WREG-TV went to the Ferguson’s listed address on Monday, but no one answered. His friend Joshua Rogers is accused of helping him move Howard’s body.
Howard’s brother, Kortez Howard, told WREG-TV everyone loved the father and musician. He said the last time he talked to his brother he told him he was battling COVID-19.
“I said, ‘bro, are you alright?’ And He said, ‘Yes, I’m going to get through this.’ You know what I’m saying and after that I didn’t hear from him again,” Kortez Howard said.
Kortez says he knew when he didn’t hear from his brother that something was off. Now, He is heartbroken for the loss of his brother just weeks shy of his 31st birthday.
Kortez says he now cherishes the memories he has from over the years.
“I think God that I was able to talk to him for the little time that I talked to him and I had a chance to tell my brother I loved him,” Kortez Howard said.
Director Rallings says this is very much an ongoing investigation and says Howard’s family and the community deserve answers.
If you know anything call Crime Stoppers 901-528-CASH.
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