The South Carolina man accused of killing a police officer and wounding six other cops in a barrage of bullets is a disbarred lawyer who bragged about his shooting skills and once said he loves “the smell of gunpowder.”
Fred Hopkins, 74, posted on Facebook in 2014 that he took his 12-year-old son to the rifle range in Lexington County for the “monthly service rifle match.” Hopkins, who was celebrating his birthday, wrote that his rifle was set up exactly like the one he used when he served in Vietnam.
“I have been shooting competitively since 1984 and lovin’ it,” he said in the post. “I just love the smell of gunpowder in the mornin’s. The guys at the range sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me — gosh, it doesn’t get any better.”
Cops say Hopkins shot seven officers and deputies who tried to serve a warrant at his Florence home on Wednesday.
Terrence Carraway, a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, was killed.
Investigators have not said what kind of weapons were involved in the shooting, but it is believed Hopkins owns multiple guns.
It took about 30 minutes for the officers and deputies who were shot to be rescued.
“Officers went there unknowing the firepower the suspect had,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said. “Fire was being shot all over. The way this suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. So he had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones who were down.”
The disabled Vietnam veteran, who was barricaded in the home with children, was taken into custody later Wednesday. He has been hospitalized with a head injury and is unable to speak with officers, according to WPDE.
The warrant that brought cops to the home was related to an accusation that Hopkins’ 27-year-old son sexually assaulted a foster child, according to WIS. Son Seth Hopkins was also shot during the confrontation, according to reports.
Fred Hopkins has been arrested multiple times, including for disorderly conduct. He was also charged on two occasions with “running at large,” which relates to not restraining one’s animals. He is the husband of divorce lawyer Cheryl Turner-Hopkins.
He lost his law license in the 1980s over $18,000 in wrongfully collected fees. He was jailed for several weeks before a court allowed for his wife to be held jointly liable for paying back the money.
Florence has a population of about 38,000, and is the largest city in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.