Open-container stop leads to arrest on attempted murder warrant

Suspect in 2013 shooting incident arrested after cops spot open can of beer on Eastside

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Rico Ferguson - COURTESY OF CHARLESTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy of Charleston County Sheriff's Office
  • Rico Ferguson

Charleston police arrested a man on an attempted murder warrant last week after approaching him about a possible loitering and open-container violation.

According to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, 29-year-old Rico Ferguson of North Charleston was wanted as a suspect in a shooting that took place more than a year ago. On the night of Dec. 12, 2013, Mt. Pleasant police officers received a report of shots being fired between multiple vehicles on Mathis Ferry Road. Two officers waited in their patrol vehicle at the corner of Wingo Way and Mathis Ferry Road until they saw a car matching one of the suspect vehicles' description, Ferguson's blue Dodge Dart.

Officers followed the Dart across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and continued following as it merged onto I-26 West, waiting on another police car to join them before eventually pulling the car over on the interstate. During the traffic stop, police handcuffed Ferguson and found an open can of beer in his car. As an officer was reading Ferguson his Miranda rights, he reportedly started sweating, spat some "green plantlike material" out of his mouth, and vomited. He told the officer he had ingested drugs, according to the report.

A search of Ferguson's vehicle turned up two empty gold shell casings and two bullet holes in the trunk lid and left tail light, along with a black knit glove that fell out of the car when a man in the passenger seat got out. The incident report does not indicate that officers found a gun in Ferguson's car. Officers charged him with simple possession of marijuana, transported him to a hospital to be medically cleared, and then released him at a bus stop at his request.

Before the December 2013 incident, Ferguson had previously pled guilty or been found guilty of assault with intent to kill, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of less than a gram of meth or crack cocaine, manufacture or distribution of crack cocaine, manufacture or possession of flunitrazepam (commonly known as "roofies") or an analogue with intent to distribute, and trespassing on railroad property, according to Charleston County court records.

Ferguson had also been charged with but not found guilty of two counts of assault with intent to kill, third-degree assault and battery by a mob, possession of a firearm during a violent crime, distribution of an imitation substance, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and crack cocaine in proximity to a school, and failure to stop for a blue light.

Ferguson did not make any appearances in Charleston County courts between the time of the December 2013 shooting incident and his arrest last week.

According to an incident report, on Mon. Jan. 19 at 11:25 p.m., two Charleston Police Department officers were patrolling in Charleston's Eastside neighborhood when they saw 29-year-old Rico Ferguson of North Charleston loitering outside an apartment at 10 Lee St. for several minutes. The officers noticed Ferguson had an open beer can on a windowsill behind him, a possible violation of the city's ban on open containers of alcoholic beverages in public places. They wrote in a report that they also smelled marijuana near him.

The officers stopped to talk to Ferguson and determined that he did not live at that location and was not in the presence of someone he was visiting. They asked him for his identification, ran a check on him via the National Crime Information Center, and found out he had a warrant out of Mt. Pleasant on an attempted murder charge from the December 2013 incident. The warrant was issued on Jan. 16, 2015. The officers arrested Ferguson and transported him to the Al Cannon Detention Center, where he was transferred to Mt. Pleasant police.

According to the incident report, Ferguson was also "advised in reference to city ordinances relating to open containers of alcohol."

Ferguson's bond was set at $500,000, and his first court appearance is set for May 29 of this year.

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