Disbarred Attorney, Disabled Vet Suspect in ‘Ambush’ Shooting
74-year-old Frederick Hopkins, a disabled Vietnam veteran and disbarred attorney, is believed to have shot seven South Carolina law enforcement officers, fatally shooting one of them. Four were members of the Florence Police Department and the other three were from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
The officer who passed from his injuries was 52-year-old Terrence Carraway, who had worked for thirty years for Florence Police Department. October 28 would have marked the officer’s 31st anniversary with the department, according to police. Carraway was also an Air Force veteran. Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler called Carraway the “bravest police officer I have ever known,” and a “good friend.” He added, “He was a giant of a man, but he was the proverbial gentle giant…and I loved him.”
Hopkins was not shot during the incident but was found unconscious. He was hospitalized with a head wound after being taken into custody.
The officers were shot while attempting to serve a search warrant at a home in Florence. The warrant was issued based on an allegation that the Hopkins 27-year-old son, Seth Hopkins, had sexually assaulted a foster child. Seth Hopkins was also wounded during the shoot-out and subsequently hospitalized along with the disbarred attorney.
Officers believed four foster children were in the residence at the time of the incident and were being particularly careful with how they approached the situation. The children were found hiding under a golf cart in the garage.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Frederick Hopkins had been charged with murder in Carraway’s death and six counts of attempted murder in what he described as an “ambush.” After being interviewed, Seth Hopkins was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second degree. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office said they believe there are more victims who have yet to come forward and that he is a danger to society, especially young women.
Frederick Hopkins had previously been charged with disorderly conduct in 2014, and “running at large” in 2015 and 2017, a charge related to failure to restrain animals. The disbarred attorney is married to Florence divorce attorney Cheryl Turner-Hopkins. The former attorney was admitted to the bar in 1980 and disbarred by consent four years later in an order by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
According to the order, Hopkins had been required to pay the Lexington County probate judge’s office $18,000 in fees wrongfully collected from a client. More than a month and a half later, Hopkins had paid only $4,600. This led him to be held in contempt of court and eventually to a June 1984 order that he be jailed for six months or until he complied.
The South Carolina Supreme Court ultimately agreed to suspend the jail sentence, provided that Hopkins repay the remaining amount within 60 days. He was then disbarred. Hopkins’ wife had agreed to be jointly responsible for the debt.
Lott said that twenty-five agents from the FBI’s Evidence Response Team were assisting his deputies as they continued to collect evidence and process the crime scene. He said that this process would take some time to complete.