South Carolina

Deputies went looking for sex assault ‘mementos,’ warrant says. Then the shooting started

Florence County deputies went to the home of Frederick Hopkins earlier this month looking for evidence that his son, Seth Hopkins, had sexually assaulted a child, according to WPDE. Before they could search the house, police say, the older Hopkins started firing at the deputies in a standoff that lasted for hours, leaving one law enforcement officer dead and six injured.

The search warrant, according to the television station, came after a minor and an adult accused Seth Hopkins of sexually assaulting them over several years. The Florence County Sheriff’s Office warrants said the 28-year-old had been “collecting mementos from the past assaults,” according to WPDE.

Seth Hopkins faces two charges related to criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to court records.

The officers planned to search Seth Hopkins’ bedroom for girls’ underwear or other female clothing, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.

The warrants said investigators met with the two accusers together on October 1 and learned of the assault allegations, according to the Post and Courier.

The warrant said the child told officers she had been sexually assaulted by Seth Hopkins over the past three years, the newspaper reports. The most recent assault on the girl was just days before they went to police, she said, according to the Post and Courier.

Frederick Hopkins, 74, faces one count of murder and six counts of attempted murder after he allegedly opened fire at deputies, and the police officers who came to their aid, from his home just outside the city limits of Florence, South Carolina.

Thirty-year Florence police verteran Terrence Carraway, 52, died in the shooting after he went to the scene to help the deputies.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said earlier this week, “This was a planned ambush.”

“The officers had no chance whatsoever,” Lott said. He described what he called a “chilling” scene at the large suburban home where investigators from Richland County and the FBI found at least 129 guns.

Richland County is heading up the investigation.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting

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