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Suspect in cop-killing crime is 74-year-old Vietnam vet who called himself a marksman

The S.C. man who is being held in connection to a Wednesday police shooting has been identified as 74-year-old Fred T. Hopkins Jr. of Florence.

Hopkins was being held by authorities Thursday evening but had not been charged, according to police officials.

The Vietnam veteran and disbarred attorney lived at the site of the shootings in an upscale Florence neighborhood. He was hospitalized for a head injury following an hours-long shoot-out that left seven police officers injured and one dead. Florence County Deputy Chief Glenn Kirby said law enforcement officers have not yet spoken with Hopkins because of “multiple health issues.”

According to S.C. Judicial Department records, Hopkins is a lawyer who was disbarred, The Greenville News reported. He wrongfully collected $18,000 in “attorney’s fees” and was disbarred in 1984.

Hopkins has also had smaller run-ins with the law, according to court records. In 2014, he was charged with public disorderly conduct, according to the Associated Press. And in 2015, criminal charges were brought against him for failing to pay a court-ordered fine.

Other records show Fred Hopkins served in the Vietnam War. He was injured in his time overseas and received military disability, according to court filings.

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He later married Cheryl Hopkins of Florence, a divorce attorney, and the couple have a large family, according to neighbors and friends.

Hopkins described himself on social media as “a competitive marksman,” according to the Associated Press, and he shared photos of himself with a M-14 rifle at a firing range “set up exactly like one I used in Vietnam in 69-70.”

He posted on his 70th birthday about “shooting competitively since 1984 and lovin’ it,” the AP also reported.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose department is leading the investigation, said a suspect is in custody but investigators aren’t to the point where they are ready to file charges.

Florence Police Officer Terrence Carraway was among the seven law enforcement officers shot. Carraway died from his injuries. He was a retired technical sergeant with the 315th Airlift Wing based in North Charleston, reported McClatchy.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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