STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Man faces murder charge in ambush of South Carolina officers

A 74-year-old man has been charged with murder in this week's ambush of law enforcement officers in Florence, South Carolina, officials said Friday.

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 4:34 PM

(CNN) -- A 74-year-old man has been charged with murder in this week's ambush of law enforcement officers in Florence, South Carolina, officials said Friday.

Frederick Hopkins also faces six counts of attempted murder in the shooting, said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose office is conducting the investigation.

Three Florence County sheriff's deputies went to Hopkins' house Wednesday to interview his adopted son, 28-year-old Seth Hopkins, as part of an investigation into criminal sexual assault, Lott said. The deputies also had a search warrant.

"They got out of their car," Lott said, "and they were shot without warning."

Sgt. Terrence Carraway, a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, was among those responding to the scene to provide backup. He was killed, and six other law enforcement officials were injured during the two-hour standoff.

Frederick Hopkins, who was formally charged at noon Friday, is in custody at a medical facility, Lott said. Officials anticipate he'll be released later Friday and transferred to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention center in Richland County.

Seth Hopkins has also been arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, Lott said. He did not elaborate on that charge. Seth Hopkins will also be transferred to the Richland County facility.

Lott earlier had said Seth Hopkins was 27, but his office later corrected the age in a statement.

"This a very large, complex puzzle that we're filling the pieces in, piece by piece -- what, why and who," Lott told reporters in a press conference Friday afternoon.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. The FBI is helping to process the crime scene.

It's unclear whether either suspect are represented by attorneys.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN before the press conference that a foster child who lived in the home was the victim of the alleged sexual assault, but authorities did not address that point at the Friday briefing.

'This was an ambush'

It's unclear whether authorities have determined why officers were fired on when they arrived at the house.

Seth Hopkins had been made aware the deputies were coming to question him, Lott said.

"These officers did absolutely nothing wrong," he said. "I don't want anybody to think their procedures were incorrect, that anything they did was improper. They did not. This was an ambush that you just can't prevent."

Frederick Hopkins was disbarred as an attorney in 1984, four years after he got his law license, according to records. He was ordered to pay $18,000 to a court in Lexington County, an amount said to be equal to the sum of "wrongfully collected attorney fees."

He was charged in 2014 with disorderly conduct, court records show. It is his only known prior arrest.

Hopkins and his wife have nine adopted children, a woman who said she was a longtime friend of the Hopkins family told The State newspaper.

Officials did not provide details about how many children were in the house at the time of the shooting, but Florence County Solicitor EL Clements III told reporters there was a hearing in family court Friday regarding emergency protective custody for the youths.

Officers still recovering

Four law enforcement officials hurt in the shooting remain hospitalized Friday.

Two sheriff's deputies are in critical condition, Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby said, and the third is in stable condition.

One police officer also is still in the hospital, Florence police Lt. Mike Brandt said. Two other wounded officers were released Wednesday night.

Scores of gunshots can be heard in footage recorded by a witness near the shooting.

The officers ultimately had to be rescued, with an armored vehicle used as a shield.

Carraway, whom the Florence mayor described as a "great cop" and a "great person," died on his way to the hospital, city spokesman John Wukela said.

Slain officer was a 'gentle giant'

City officials lauded Carraway as a man with a steady temperament and a deep commitment to his community.

Florence police Chief Allen Heidler fought back tears Thursday as he recalled Carraway as a good friend and "the bravest police officer" he's ever known.

Carraway had started a mentoring program for disadvantaged youths called Camp FEVER, Heidler said.

"He had a passion for kids ... to see kids in impoverished areas have the opportunity to do the things they might not have the opportunity" to do, Heidler said. "He was a giant of a man, but he was the proverbial gentle giant, and I loved him."

An autopsy was to be performed at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, WBTW reported.

Carraway's pastor, the Rev. Cecil Bromell of First Baptist Church of Florence, said there would be a public viewing from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday at the Florence Center, and a memorial service at noon.

Huntsville
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 74°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 39604

Reported Deaths: 961
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
Conecuh1866
Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
Geneva700
Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46890

Reported Deaths: 620
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10765195
Davidson10125115
Rutherford273335
Hamilton257730
Sumner150752
Trousdale14905
Williamson114814
Knox10225
Out of TN10098
Wilson85917
Putnam8147
Robertson80111
Sevier7333
Lake6900
Tipton6205
Bledsoe6181
Bradley6043
Bedford5205
Unassigned5161
Montgomery5137
Macon4213
Hardeman3143
Maury3113
Fayette3012
Hamblen2964
Rhea2740
Loudon2711
Madison2642
Dyer2321
Cheatham2201
McMinn21817
Blount2053
Dickson1940
Cumberland1744
Lawrence1435
Lauderdale1362
Monroe1365
Washington1340
Jefferson1210
Coffee1150
Gibson1101
Obion1062
Anderson1052
Hardin1037
Smith1031
Sullivan1012
Greene862
Franklin823
Haywood812
Wayne800
Cocke760
Marshall741
Hickman730
Warren690
Marion674
White653
McNairy640
Weakley621
Grundy581
Lincoln580
Overton581
DeKalb570
Carter561
Giles551
Hawkins552
Unicoi550
Roane500
Henry420
Campbell411
Polk410
Carroll401
Grainger390
Henderson390
Johnson380
Cannon340
Claiborne320
Crockett323
Meigs320
Perry310
Sequatchie290
Chester260
Humphreys261
Jackson260
Morgan241
Decatur210
Stewart210
Fentress190
Clay160
Scott150
Union150
Houston130
Benton121
Moore100
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

Community Events