Fred Hopkins, the disbarred lawyer husband of a well-known family and divorce attorney in South Carolina, was identified as the man accused of shooting seven law enforcement officers in Florence, South Carolina, killing Terrence Carraway, a beloved officer and family man who valiantly served his community for decades.
Authorities say Hopkins, a Vietnam veteran, sprayed gunfire at the law enforcement officers from two agencies, killing Carraway and wounding the six others, from a perch inside his home near Florence, South Carolina on October 3, 2018. He was taken into custody after a standoff, but not before seven officers lay wounded.
Fred Hopkins, who is also known as Frederick Hopkins, is 74-years-old. He was taken to the hospital because he fell at the scene and has not been able to speak with police. He is the husband of Cheryl Turner Hopkins. You can read about the life of Officer Carraway here. Officer Carraway was a former football coach and family man who worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years. Two of the other officers are in critical condition.
Authorities were trying to serve a search warrant for a 27-year-old person who was accused of sexually assaulting a foster child at the home when Fred Hopkins is accused of opening fire on them, according to WPDE-TV.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fred Hopkins Is a Vietnam Vet & Disbarred Lawyer Who Claimed He Suffered From Agent Orange
In rambling posts on Facebook, Fred Hopkins indicated that he was a Vietnam veteran who was a cancer survivor, an ailment he attributed to Agent Orange exposure. A 2000 court document in an old child support case indicated that he was wounded in Vietnam. “Father was injured in the Vietnam war; his sole source of income is his disability check of $1127.00 per month,” the documents say, referring to Fred Hopkins.
Records from the South Carolina Bar Association indicated that Frederick Hopkins was disbarred in 1984. His name was given as Frederick T. Hopkins, Jr. According to Greenville News, Hopkins lost his law license “for wrongfully collecting $18,000 in attorney fees” and went to jail but avoided serving the full six months when he gave up his law license and paid the money back.
In one post on Facebook, he wrote, “Today was a fantastic day! I went to the Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia, SC, and spoke with my oncologist, who gave me some very good news. My recent P.E.T. scan from the Charleston VA Hospital shows that I have no evidence of an active case of ‘b-cell lymphoma.’ Once I complete my schedule of chemo sessions, they will let me rest for several months and monitor my case with simple scans. That means — no radiation treatments in the near future. I am in remission!!! My family couldn’t be happier. Looks like I will be around for a few more years. I just might make it to my birthday in two days! The sun was shining and the powers above looked upon me with kindness.”
He wrote that he had “many things to be thankful for and life is one of those miracles. Now I can concentrate on my nine little pups and give them hope. Have a great day, one and all. Today I tried to remember those who passed on 9/11 and all those friends of mine from EMHS who crossed over much too early! Be patient, we will all be together in the far future.”
Hopkins claimed in that post that he lost 50 comrades in Vietnam, writing, “I miss you all very much and especially those who died 6 May 1970 on the slopes of FSB Henderson, RVN. Time magazine in the May 1970 issue it was the bloodiest firebase attack in the Army’s history. I lost more than 50 of the best brothers I ever knew my short life. They deserved better.”
He wrote about Agent Orange exposure: “Had the biggest ‘gut check’ of my life yesterday. I underwent 8.5 hours od chemo for ‘mantle cell lymphoma’ because I was exposed to heavy doses of ‘Agent Orange’ while performing combat duties with the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam in 1969-1970. I have been fighting this disease for five years on my own and the VA finally found out why I had pain and swollen nodules in my neck. Next chemo on June 12th. Feeling well so far, but was allergic to several meds they gave me. No pain, no gain! My eight kids are all in the house and one on the way — due about August 8th, plus or minus ten days. Updates to follow.”
2. Hopkins Is Married to Cheryl Turner Hopkins, a Prominent Attorney
On Facebook, where he posted pictures of his family, his wife, rifles, and her Mother’s Day presents, Fred Hopkins wrote that he had studied Aerospace Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, went to Elmont Memorial Junior – Senior High School, lived in Florence, South Carolina, and was from Brooklyn, New York.
He was married to Cheryl Turner Hopkins, a well-known attorney in the Florence area. He recently posted a series of pictures of flowers and other gifts his wife received for Mother’s Day, writing, “These are pictures of my Bride’s (Cheryl Hopkins) many presents from Mother’s Day (13 May 2018) and posted on my timeline.”
On Facebook, he indicated that he had been married to Cheryl Hopkins for more than 30 years. “Today I spent several hours getting medicine for my wife of 30+ years,” he wrote in one Facebook post. “I am very proud of her and know how important good medicine is a getting it on time. I would be lost without her good cheer and great jokes and stories from the courthouse. I am about to go to dinner in Garden City, SC and hope to meet my fourth son, Jeremy, who is now attending Clemson. Since I received my doctorate from USC, he is bound and determined to tell me that Clemson (ranked #3 nationally) is the best. Well, whatever.”
In one old news story, Cheryl Turner Hopkins was quoted because she had represented a woman whose husband was accused of killing her.
In 2002, Fred T. Hopkins, acting pro se, sued two men over the building of his home. The court dismissed his case because he refused to participate in mediation as required by court order, the documents say.
3. Fred Hopkins Wrote About Rifles on Facebook
Hopkins sometimes wrote about weaponry. “This is my rifle…….. this one is my gun. This one was built just for me and this one was for fun!” he wrote in one Facebook post.
In another post, he wrote, “The day after my 70th birthday, I took my 12 year old son to my favorite rifle range in Lexington County SC for the monthly service rifle match. It showered all day and I fired my M-14 rifle by Federal Ordnance in 7.62mm NATO. The rifle is set up exactly like one I used in Viet Nam in 69-70. I scored 338-0X’s and had a blast! I have been shooting competitively since 1984 and lovin’ it. I just love the smell of gunpowder in the mornin’s. The guys at the range sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me — gosh, it doesn’t get any better.”
He also wrote about playing Trivial Pursuit and other activities with his children.
“IT’S 12:20 HRS and the temp is over 100 deg F. Too hot for yard work. So I’ll quit for now and get ready for a long EKG because of the accident. Seth and I got our Fiat RR tire fixed and remounted in no time. We’re ahead of schedule and tonight we play Trivial Pursuit (Red Neck style) at Southern Hops in Florence. Our team has won the past three weeks, so we have quite a war chest established. Time to upgrade our meager meals into something more expensive. Feeling good. Peace to all.”
4. Cheryl Hopkins Helped Fred Hopkins With a Previous Divorce & He’s the Father of Sons Who Worked in Law Enforcement
A Supreme Court decision from 2000 indicated that Fred Hopkins was married before to a woman named Carol Hopkins and that Cheryl Turner Hopkins, his second wife, helped him with the divorce.
“Mother and Father were married in 1967; they divorced in May 1983,” that court case said, referring to Fred and Carol Hopkins. “They had two children: (a son), born May 26, 1972, and (a second son), born December 4, 1969. Father was ordered to pay child support of $350.00 per month. In November 1986, Father was found to be $18,693.00 in arrears in his child support, and an order garnishing $432.60 per month of his military disability payments was entered.”
The court case continued: “The younger son…went to live with Father for approximately 5 months, from late April, 1990, through September, 1990. In early May 1990, Father instituted the instant action seeking custody of (the son); a hearing was held on May 13, 1990, three days prior to (the son)’s 18th birthday. Father sought termination of support for his older son …claiming he was over age 18 and was not entitled to post-emancipation support; Father did, however, request Mother be required to pay post-emancipation support for (the son). The family court gave Father temporary custody of (the son) but required Father to continue making his child support payments pending the final hearing.”
The documents indicate: “he was represented at trial by his current wife, attorney Cheryl Turner Hopkins.”
According to Facebook, one of Fred Hopkins’ sons is a police officer in South Carolina. His profile picture shows him wearing a police uniform. Another son of Fred Hopkins posted a crying emoji as his Facebook profile picture, and shared a graphic that reads, “Light up Facebook with this blue candle for all of our fallen officers.” In 2016, after the shooting of multiple Dallas police officers, that son wrote on Facebook, “I have made a tribute video if anyone would care to see it….please feel free to visit my page and view it. Having been in law enforcement now for 11 years thought it was the least I could do to honor all of the fallen. If you like the video please feel free to share it.”
Yet another son listed his job as running odd jobs at the Cheryl Turner Hopkins law firms.
5. Authorities Said Gunfire Was Being Shot ‘All Over’
Authorities said gunfire was being shot “all over.” They said officers saw fellow officers down. The way the suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. “So he had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones who were down.”
Initial reports had said that five officers were shot. However, later reports said as many as seven officers (four City of Florence and three Florence County sheriff’s deputies), and a 20-year-old man, were shot.
One officer, Carraway, died in the shooting. Two of the other officers’ conditions were described as “touch and go,” according to WPDE-TV. The officer who died is a City of Florence police officer. “Carolinas Hospital System in Florence is on a temporary lock down following the shooting,” WPDE-TV reported. The station added that, according to neighbors, the initial call was for shots fired inside a home.
“The active shooting situation is over and the suspect is in custody. We are asking everyone to stay away from Vintage Place as there is still an active crime investigation in progress,” the Emergency Management office wrote on Facebook.
Florence County Emergency Management confirmed the incident on Twitter, writing, “Due to a high priority call in Vintage Place off of Hoffmeyer Rd in FLORENCE. There is an active shooter incident in progress at this time. We are advising everyone to stay away from this area. We have FCSO along with City PD and other first responders handling this situation.” Photos and videos captured a massive law enforcement response to the scene.
The message was stamped “high priority” on Twitter. Gov. Henry McMaster wrote on Twitter, “This is simply devastating news from Florence. The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real.”
The Florence County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Department is located in Effingham, South Carolina. Florence is a community located about 80 miles from Columbia, South Carolina. A local high school was put in lockdown as a precautionary measure.
Representative Terry Alexander, who represents parts of Florence, released the following statement to WPDE: “It’s just a very sad situation. We have got to do something about these guns. We should also remember to be calm and let the process take place. Let’s see what our magnificent law enforcement officers come up with to make sure that our people are safe, especially our children. I am in prayer for all six families who are hurting right now, including that of the shooter.”