Coroner: Deaths of ex-residents homicides

Published 11:44 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The deaths of a former Vicksburg resident and her handicapped son in their Gulfport home Monday have been ruled homicides following autopsies, said Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove.

Karen Brown Ferguson, 45, and Trevor Cole Ferguson, 21, each died from a gunshot wound to the head, Hargrove said Tuesday afternoon.

The man believed responsible for the shootings, Paul Buckman, 70, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said the coroner.

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Hargrove declined to specify how many shots were fired in the slayings.

Gulport Police Capt. Neal Stachura said today that some weapon and forensic tests, including DNA testing, remain to be completed before the case is closed, but investigators believe they will prove that Buckman killed the Fergusons, then went back to his own apartment and killed himself.

“We have people that did put him at the scene, but we want to cover our bases and eliminate any doubt,” Stachura said. “The initial work should be completed within the next few days, but some will take several weeks to finish.”

Ferguson was a 1985 graduate of Warren Central High School. She moved from Vicksburg about 20 years ago, sometime after her marriage to Les Ferguson Jr., then the youth minister at the Church of Christ on North Frontage Road.

The couple, who had four sons, eventually settled in the Gulfport area, where Les Ferguson was the preaching minister and an elder at Orange Grove Church of Christ.

In July, Buckman had been arrested for sexual battery in a case that Gulfport police Chief Alan Weatherford said involved the Ferguson family. Buckman had been released on $50,000 bond. He had not been indicted by a grand jury.

Buckman had reportedly met the Fergusons at the Orange Grove church, where he had attended until the time of his arrest.

A neighbor of the Fergusons said Monday that their 5-year-old son had come to the door crying and screaming for help. When the neighbors went to the home and pushed in the door, Karen Ferguson told them to “save my baby,” so they grabbed the child and ran.

Police responding a short time later discovered the bodies of Karen and Cole Ferguson. Buckman’s body was found about two hours later at his apartment.