Tahreem Zeus Rana, an Atlanta police officer who allegedly murdered Vernicia Woodard, 26, a woman that he met online, was arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Thursday as he was attempting to escape to Mexico, reports CBS46.com.
Police allowed Rana, who had been placed on a no-fly list, to go through airport security to ensure that he wasn’t armed, then arrested him.
Rana, who has been with the Atlanta Police Department for 3 years, will face kidnapping, murder and arson charges.
“We are shocked and saddened by these developments. The officer has been relieved from duty, and is in a non-enforcement status. Chief Turner will schedule an emergency hearing immediately today to determine the next course of action. We must allow the justice system to run its course. But these clearly are very disturbing allegations that are not in line with the expectations we have for our officers, and will be immediately dealt with,” said APD Public Affairs Director Carlos Campos.
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Woodward, who recently moved to Atlanta from New York. She was linked to Rana through her phone records, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The two appear to have met on, a classified ad website that is often used to facilitate romantic encounters.
Hapeville police said her body was found by a city employee Aug. 22. She had been shot several times and set on fire.
“First he took her to a secluded area to do the crime and then after killing her, he used some kind of fuel to light the body on fire in order to cover up any type of evidence that may be there,” Hapeville Police Detective Stephen Cushing told WGCL.
WSB reports that Woodward has an 8-year-old daughter.
“It hurts a lot more to know that it was somebody in law enforcement,” the victim’s sister, Tashara Gilyard, told the station.
Rana appeared in court on Friday.
Read more at CBS46.com.