Richland County Sheriff: Over 126 guns seized from home of suspect in shooting of Florence officers

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932 Ashton Drive, Florence after the October 3, 2018 deadly officer shooting

The Richland County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Tuesday to provide an update on the investigation of the shooting of law enforcement officers in Florence. 

According to Sheriff Leon Lott, crime scene crews from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI Evidence Response team spent 13 days processing evidence from the scene, including the house, which is about 6,500 square feet. 

More than 126 guns not believed to be used in the shooting were seized from the home for “safekeeping,” Sheriff Lott said during the conference. Three other guns believed to be used in the shooting were seized from the house, including a pistol and two military-style assault rifles. 

Over 390 shell casings believed to be fired by at least 13 officers at the scene were recovered, Sheriff Lott also said. About 39 casings believed to be fired from inside the home were also recovered. 

According to Lott, five people were inside the home at the time of the shooting: Frederick Hopkins, Seth Hopkins, one adult, and two minor children. 

“Just going inside that house is chilling,” Sheriff Lott said during the press conference. “I’ve been doing this a long time and been to a lot of crime scenes, and this is probably one of the worst that I’ve ever seen.”

A press release from the RCSO says about nine other agencies provided assistance including the Columbia Police Department, Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Lexington County Police Department, Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, Sumter Police Department, and the University of SC Department of Law Enforcement.

Four law enforcement officers remain in the hospital, according to the release. Three Florence County deputies are still in the hospital recovering from the incident. Two remain in critical condition, while the other one has been updated to stable condition. The City of Florence police officer has been transferred to a facility in Georgia.

Eight people were shot during the shooting at 932 Ashton Drive in Florence on October 3, including 7 law enforcement officers. Sgt. Terrence Carraway was killed during the shooting. 

Warrants for Frederick T. Hopkins, Jr. and Seth Hopkins were released on Wednesday. Frederick Hopkins, Jr. is charged with six counts of attempted murder and one count of murder. Seth Hopkins is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor victim 11 to 14 years of age. 

An additional child sex crime charge, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, was filed for Seth Hopkins on Friday. 

A judge denied a public offender for Frederick Hopkins, Jr. on Tuesday. Judge Thomas A. Russo denied Hopkins’ request for appointed counsel citing the income of the alleged killer’s wife. The judge said Hopkins was not limited in means and could afford his own attorney. 

Hopkins argued that he doesn’t personally make enough money to hire an attorney and he doesn’t have access to his wife’s money.

“Even though we’ve technically filed jointly, I never get to really see her (wife) income, or anything like that,” claimed the accused killer. “She keeps her stuff separate from mine.”

WBTW News13 will provide updates online, on-air, and on Facebook as we receive them. 

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