Authorities say nearly 130 guns were found inside the Florence home where a man shot seven officers two weeks ago, killing one.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said it appeared 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins only used a pistol and two military assault rifles in his attack. Lott said investigators believe Hopkins — a former decorated Army sharpshooter — fired 39 rounds, while responding officers fired more than 390 rounds.
Lott added the details after announcing Tuesday that investigators have wrapped up work at the scene. The sheriff said 13 days were needed to go over the site due to its size and the amount of shots fired during the October 3 incident.
“To go there and see what these officers faced is something that I never want to see again,” Lott told reporters during a news conference. “I’ve been doing this a long time and have been to a lot of crime scenes, and this is probably one of the worst that I’ve ever seen.”
Investigators said Hopkins ambushed and shot three Florence County deputies who came to question his son Seth about potential child sex accusations, then shot four more Florence city police officers who tried to rescue them. One of the responding officers — Sgt. Terrence Carraway — later died at the hospital. Two deputies remain in critical condition.
Two weeks later, it’s still not clear how the shootout ended. Florence County deputies confirmed Hopkins was taken to the hospital afterwards, but investigators have not said how he was injured. He was later charged with murder and six counts of attempted murder. Seth Hopkins has since been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct.
12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements said it’s too early to know whether his office will seek the death penalty. “We will be receiving a package of evidence, a report, and interviews,” he told reporters. “And, from that evidence, we will go through it meticulously, make the decisions we need to make and decide which route to take at the appropriate time.”
The Richland County Sheriff’s Office has been overseeing the investigation. Normally, the State Law Enforcement Division handles officer-involved shooting cases. However, Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone decided to utilize an existing agreement with Richland County to handle the investigation.