Investigator says Florence police shooting was “ambush.”
Police officers were ambushed at an upscale Florence neighborhood when one officer was killed and others injured, the lead investigator said.
“These officers did absolutely nothing wrong,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Friday. “This was an ambush you can’t prevent.”
The alleged shooter, Fred Hopkins, 74, faces one count of murder in the death of Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway. He also faces six counts of attempted murder for the shooting of other city officers and Florence County Sheriff deputies.
Three deputies and city officer Scott Williamson remain in critical condition. City officers Brian Hart and Travis Scott were released from the hospital.
The seven officers killed or injured were:
- Florence Officer Terrence Carraway
- Florence Officer Brian Hart
- Florence Officer Travis Scott
- Florence Officer Scott Williamson
- Florence County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Arie Davis
- Florence County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sarah Miller
- Florence County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Farrrah Turner
A magistrate denied bond for Fred Hopkins on the murder count, Florence Solicitor Ed Clements said. Bond on murder charges can only be set by a circuit court judge. Bond was also denied on the attempted murder charges so a global bond can be set on all charges at a later date.
The magistrate also decided to wait for more information before allowing a court-appointed attorney to represent Hopkins, Clements said. The state objected to a court-appointed attorney as it doesn’t believe Fred Hopkins meets the financial qualifications.
Hopkins’ adopted son, Seth Hopkins, 28, also was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct of a minor. Based on the code, the victim is 11 to 14 years old. Police say it’s possible there are more victims. The magistrate denied bond for Seth Hopkins.
Deputies went to the Hopkins’ Ashton Drive home Wednesday evening after they scheduled an interview with Seth Hopkins for the sexual conduct case. Lott said it’s standard police procedure to arraign to meet with a subject for an interview. Police also had a search warrant.
“They got out of the car, and they were shot before they got to the door,” Lott said.
Four responding officers were then shot, Lott said. An armored vehicle was used to remove the officers from the scene.
Lott declined to identify the gun used in the attack or the number of people inside the home during the shooting. The department has stated that multiple weapons were involved.
No civilians were injured in the incident. Seth was struck in the shooting, he said.
Clements initially said two or three children were under Fred Hopkins’ care. There was a hearing on Friday in family court, but Clements did not provide any additional information. Debbie Elliott with the Social Services Department later said the agency took custody of four of five children.
Clements said it was too early to decide on the death penalty against Fred Hopkins.
Lott said there is extensive investigative work that will take at least a week, and the FBI is at the site to assist.
“We will continue to fill in the blanks of the puzzle until we have this puzzle completely finished,” Lott said.