Disabled Vietnam Vet Held in SC Police Killing

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A disabled Vietnam veteran and disbarred lawyer who had boasted about his rifle-shooting prowess is the man suspected of shooting seven law enforcement officers near Florence, S.C., killing one of them, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. Frederick Hopkins, 74, was taken into custody after a shootout with sheriff’s deputies and Florence police officers. The two-hour standoff punctuated the air of a quiet and groomed neighborhood with hundreds of gunshots. Hopkins was hospitalized. When the disturbance settled, 53-year-old Sgt. Terrence Carraway, a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, was dead. Six officers were hurt. Five civilians also were injured in the shootout. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading an investigation into the deadly episode, refused to offer a more detailed explanation of the violence that unfolded a day earlier.

The shooting carried one of the highest casualty tolls for South Carolina law enforcement in recent memory. For Florence, a city of nearly 40,000 some 100 miles northeast of Charleston, the first slaying of an officer in three decades rattled its small police force. Police Chief Allen Heidler said Carraway was the “epitome of a community police officer” who started a summer camp for impoverished youth who might not otherwise have such opportunities. Hopkins is a former attorney who was disbarred from practicing law in the Palmetto State. He was married to a local divorce lawyer. Over the past 30 years he has had other encounters with law officers. In 1984, Hopkins was jailed after he failed to pay back $18,000 in attorney fees alleged to have been wrongly collected from a client. In 2014, Florence County sheriff’s deputies charged him with disorderly conduct. One of his sons, Sean, is listed on Facebook and LinkedIn pages as a police officer.

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