FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Fred Hopkins Jr., the man accused of killing two Florence County law-enforcement officers and wounding several others in an October 2018 ambush in the Vintage Place neighborhood, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday afternoon.
Below is a timeline with some of the highlights of News13’s coverage of the case.
OCT. 12, 2023
Fred Hopkins appeared in an Aiken County courtroom and pleaded guilty to all charges against him in connection with the October 2018 Vintage Place neighborhood ambush that resulted in the deaths of two law-enforcement officers and the wounding of several others.
He avoided a death sentence as a result of the plea, 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements said.
Hopkins, now 79, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday on two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
JUNE 30, 2023
Fred Hopkins, accused of killing 2 officers, wounding 5 others in Florence, to go on trial in February, solicitor says
A Feb. 20 trial date was set for Fred Hopkins Jr., the disbarred attorney who is accused of ambushing and killing two law-enforcement officers and wounding five others in the Vintage Place neighborhood in October 2018.
Hopkins attended a pre-trial motions hearing that was closed to the public and the media.
OCT. 3, 2022
‘Heroes Day’ lunch recognizes Florence County first responders on 4th anniversary of ambush that left 2 officers dead, 5 others hurt
Florence County first responders were recognized with a “Heroes Day” lunch on the four-year anniversary of an ambush that left two law-enforcement officers dead and five others injured.
The family of Farrah Turner, a Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator killed in the Oct. 3, 2018 ambush, and the sheriff’s office provided lunch for all of the county’s first responders at the sheriff’s office in Effingham.
Turner and Florence Police Officer Terrence Carraway died after the shooting at the Vintage Place neighborhood off Hoffmeyer Road.
OCT. 3, 2021
The two Florence County law-enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in October 2018 were remembered by friends, family members and colleagues on the third anniversary of the deadly shooting.
Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner died after being shot on Oct. 3, 2018, in an ambush in the Vintage Place neighborhood in Florence.
Carraway was remembered during a service at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Darlington. People were encouraged to wear black and blue to honor law enforcement.
DEC. 9, 2020
Officials said the Florence man accused of shooting seven officers, killing two of them, would be transported from the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center to Newberry County Court on Thursday.
The reason for the transfer was not provided by authorities.
OCT. 22, 2020
“It is a very emotional day for us,” Farrah Turner’s aunt Linda Weaver said. “Very difficult for us.”
Turner’s family and friends gathered at her park at Francis Marion University and later at her grave site at Florence Memorial Gardens. Between tears and prayer, they honored her legacy.
Turner, a Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator, was one of two officers killed in the Oct. 2018 Vintage Place neighborhood shooting.
SEPT. 16, 2020
Fred Hopkins appeared in court during for a hearing to determine his ability to pay for an attorney. A judge previously determined that Hopkins was not indigent — essentially meaning he should be able to pay for a lawyer.
Hopkins said still had not officially been given an attorney.
“I have nothing,” Hopkins said across the courtroom to the judge. “I have no income. I’m not employed. All I’ve got is social security.”
JUNE 11, 2020
Fred Hopkins was served death penalty papers by 12th Circuit Solicitor E.L. Clements during a hearing that lasted about 15 minutes.
Hopkins faces two murder charges and five counts of attempted murder in connection with the October 2018 ambush shooting of several law enforcement officers in Florence’s Vintage Place neighborhood.
No other details from the hearing were available because of a judge’s gag order issued in April 2019.
FEB. 5, 2020
Florence County investigator Sarah Miller, one of the seven law enforcement officers shot in the October 2018 Vintage Place ambush in Florence, was a guest of Rep. Tom Rice’s guest at the State of the Union speech in Washington.
Miller needed multiple surgeries after the surgery but returned to work in January.
A representative for Rice told News13 that Miller joined him to help advocate for a bill that would expand the background check system that would do more to keep guns out of the hands of people who may be suffering from mental illness.
DEC. 16, 2019
Seth Hopkins, the son of accused Vintage Place neighborhood shooter Fred Hopkins, pleaded guilty to a sex charge involving a minor. According to warrants, Seth Hopkins an 11- to 14-year-old girl between Sept. 2017 and Oct. 2018.
A judge in Richland County sentenced him to the maximum sentence of 20 years, minus time served of 437 days. After he’s released, he will have GPS monitoring and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Nine charges against Seth Hopking, which included a second girl, were dismissed as part of the plea deal. He also waived his right to have the case tried in Florence County.
OCT. 3, 2019
A ceremony was held at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center to remember the victims of the Vintage Place shooting that resulted in the death of Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner.
SEPT. 19, 2019
Darlington Raceway announced that its annual 5K race was being renamed for Sgt. Terrence Carraway, one of the officers killed in the October 2018 Vintage Place neighborhood shooting.
Carraway was from Darlington.
MAY 1, 2019
Officials announced the induction of fallen Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah into the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.
They joined more than 300 other South Carolina officers in the Hall of Fame.
APRIL 2, 2019
A judge granted a mental health evaluation for the man charged in the ambush shooting of several police officers in Florence. Ed Clements, the 12th Circuit Solicitor, asked for the evaluation after Hopkins sent letters to a news outlet claiming that he suffers from PTSD after serving in the Army.
In the letters, Hopkins said he suffered from flashbacks, nightmares, and “erratic” reactions to stress and claimed to also have stroke-like collapses.
The judge granted the evaluation order and also issued a gag order for the case, meaning the solicitor’s office and law enforcement could not release information about the case going forward.
JAN. 4, 2019
Authorities confirmed that Florence Police Sgt. Scott Williamson, who was hot in the head in the Vintage Place shooting, had returned home from an Atlanta, Georgia, hospital, exactly three months after the shooting.
DEC. 14, 2018
Police incident reports confirm that accused killer Fred Hopkins was no stranger to interactions with local law enforcement prior to the Oct. 3 shooting that led to the deaths of two Florence County law enforcement officers.
News13 requested every report on record filed for Fredrick Hopkins, his son, Seth Hopkins, and every report filed for 932 Ashton Drive and received more than 100 pages of police reports from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
In all, the inquiry into incidents at the Hopkins home yielded about two dozen different case reports. Fred Hopkins called deputies to the home more than a dozen times in the last decade, according to the documents.
NOV. 28, 2018
The “Florence 7” benefit motorcycle ride raised nearly $20,000 dollars for the families of officers injured and killed in the October Vintage Place shooting.
“It’s been great to see the community come together the way it has. We’re just hoping to give and show law enforcement that people care,” said Ben Knotts. one of the ride’s organizers.
OCT. 23-24 2018
An attempted murder charge for Fred Hopkins was upgraded to murder after the death of Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner.
Officials said Florence Police Officer Scott Williamson remained hospitalized in Atlanta, Georgia, but his condition was said to be improving.
Hopkins is now charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
OCT. 23, 2018
Funeral services are announced for Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner, who died on Oct. 22, roughly three weeks after the Vintage Place shooting.
“Farrah was the ultimate professional, excelling at everything she did,” Sheriff Kenney Boone said in a new release. “She dedicated her life to serving the victims of the worst crimes imaginable.”
OCT. 22, 2018
Kate Godwin, the mother of Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner, said her daughter was still in critical condition after the Vintage Place shooting.
OCT. 14, 2018
Community members around the Pee Dee hosted a fundraiser event to help Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy Farrah Turner, who was among those ambushed and shot on Oct. 3 as law-enforcement officers tried to serve a warrant in the Vintage Place neighborhood.
OCT. 8, 2018
News13 was the only TV station at the bond hearing for 74-year-old Fred Hopkins Jr. as Judge Tommy Mourounas denied bond for Hopkins, who was charged with murder and six counts of attempted murder.
Fred Hopkins’ son, Seth Hopkins, also appeared in court to face a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. He also was denied bond.
OCT. 7, 2018
Community members line up to pay tribute to Florence Police Officer Travis Scott, who was wounded on the job while assisting the Florence County Sheriff’s Office during the deadly Vintage Place shooting.
OCT. 5, 2018
FBI agents in Florence County to assist with investigation of shooting of 7 officers, 1 other person
FBI agents are called to help process evidence in the Vintage Place shooting investigation.
Florence Police Chief Alan Heidler said one Florence police officer remained hospitalized in serious but stable condition. The Florence County Emergency Medical Services said a total of 12 patients were taken to two local trauma centers, including seven law enforcement officers and five civilians.
OCT. 3, 2018
Fred Hopkins is taken into custody after eight people, seven of them law-enforcement officers, were shot at the Vintage Place neighborhood off Hoffmeyer Road in Florence while officers were trying to serve a warrant involving an accusation that a 27-year-old person in the home had sexually assaulted a foster child in the home.
Florence Police Officer Terrence Carraway, 52, of Darlington, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.