Crime & Courts

Suspect in SC police shooting has sons with law enforcement ties

The Florence man charged in a Wednesday shooting that killed one police officer and injured six others is the father of a current law enforcement officer and a former one.

It’s an odd twist in a tragedy that has gained national attention as one of the bloodiest police shoot-outs in recent American history.

“My heart goes out to the family of the wounded officers and the family of the fallen officer,” said Fred Hopkins III when contacted by The State on Friday morning. He was an officer with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department until mid-2018, according to S.C. Police Academy records.

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He declined to comment further about his father, Fred Hopkins, 74, who, according to investigators, ambushed Florence police officers Wednesday as they arrived at his Florence home.

An hours-long stand-off ensued before Fred Hopkins surrendered, according to police. He is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia.

Hopkins III, 48, is the older of two sons from a previous marriage of Fred Hopkins, according to court records.

Hopkins’ younger brother, Sean Hopkins, 46, is an officer with the Santee Police Department in Orangeburg County, according to S.C. Police Academy records. Efforts to reach him were not successful.

Sean Hopkins has spent more than a decade in law enforcement. He has also worked with police departments in Batesburg-Leesville, Saluda, Bishopville and Ninety Six, where he was a K-9 officer. In 2016, he was awarded a “Most Inspirational Police Officer” award by the Bishopville Police Department, according to a social media post.

A former co-worker from the Bishopville Police Department, who asked not to be identified, said Sean “was a good officer ... very by the books,” and that he was enjoyable to work with.

The two Hopkins brothers do not live in Florence.

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