Suspect charged in shooting death of Florence police officer, wounding of six others
FLORENCE, S.C. – Frederick Thomas Hopkins Jr. has been charged with with one count of murder and six counts of attempted murder in the shooting of seven law enforcement officers.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news conference Friday afternoon that the charges had been filed by the 12th Circuit solicitor’s office. Hopkins will be taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia as soon as he is released from a medical facility, Lott said. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting at the request of Florence authorities.
Hopkins, 74, has been charged with the murder of Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway. He has been charged with the attempted murders of officers Brian Hart, Travis Scott and Scott Williamson of the Florence Police Department and deputies Arie Davis, Sarah Miller and Farrah Turner of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
In South Carolina, people convicted of murder can receive the death penalty or a prison term of 30 years up to life.
Solicitor Ed Clements III said it was too soon to determine whether he would seek the death penalty.
Hopkins was denied bond in a hearing that was held Friday afternoon.
Lott described the shooting as an “ambush.” He said that three Florence County sheriff’s deputies had arranged a time to meet with Hopkins’ adopted son, Seth, 28, about an allegation of criminal sexual conduct. As soon as the officers arrived, Hopkins allegedly began firing at them.
“The officers did absolutely nothing wrong,” Lott added. “I don’t want anybody to think that their procedures were incorrect.”
Seth Hopkins, 28, has been charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and is also expected to be taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia as soon as he is released from a medical facility. He was denied bond in a hearing that was held Friday evening.
A person convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree can face a prison term of not more than 20 years.
Of the seven officers who were shot, three were from the Florence County Sheriff’s office and four, including Sgt. Terrence Carraway, from the Florence Police Department. Carraway was killed.
Lott said the investigation probably will continue for seven to 10 more days at the scene on Ashton Drive in the west Florence subdivision of Vintage Place. He said the FBI also has sent an evidence team to assist the investigation.