Suspect in Florence shooting that killed two officers, to be in court on Halloween, cops say

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The suspect in the Florence shooting where two law enforcement officers died and five more were killed will appear in court on Wednesday.

Frederick T. Hopkins Jr. will have a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Halloween morning, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

The 74-year-old Hopkins has been charged with with five counts of attempted murder and two counts of murder, The State reported after his charges were amended Oct. 23, following the death of Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy Farrah B. Turner.

Florence Police Officer Terrence Carraway was killed in the shooting on Oct. 3, The State reported.

The sheriff’s department said Wednesday’s preliminary hearing “will be for both murder charges and the five attempted murder charges.”

The shootout started shortly after investigators from the Florence County Sheriff’s Department arrived to serve a warrant on Hopkins’ adopted son, Seth David Hopkins, a suspect in a case involving criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

As deputies arrived, Fred Hopkins opened fire, shooting at deputies with a pistol and two military assault rifles, the Associated Press reported. More than 400 rounds were fired in the two-hour shootout before Fred Hopkins was arrested, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose department is leading the investigation.

“They got out of the car, and they were shot before they got to the door,” Lott said, according to The State. “These officers did absolutely nothing wrong. This was an ambush you can’t prevent.”

One other officer involved in the shootout — Scott Williamson of the Florence Police Department — remains in critical condition. All others have been released from the hospital.

Lott asked the community to “pray for the officers who are still recovering,” according to the sheriff’s department.

Seth Hopkins was also arrested and charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

He will have his preliminary hearing on the sexual assault charges on Thursday, the sheriff’s department reported.

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