FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Justice finally arrived on Thursday for the victims and families whose lives were changed forever after a deadly 2018 ambush of law enforcement officers in Florence County.
Fred Hopkins Jr, 79, appeared in court in a wheelchair shortly after noon to face a judge and learn his sentence for shooting and killing two officers and wounding several others outside his home in the Vintage Place neighborhood more than five years ago. Security outside the Florence County courthouse was tight Thursday morning as authorities prepared for the sentencing hearing.
Hopkins pleaded guilty a week ago to shooting and killing Florence Police Officer Terrance Callaway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner, and wounding several other officers. The plea entered in an Aiken County courtroom allowed him to avoid a death sentence, according to 12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements.
The incident happened on Oct. 3, 2018, when authorities went to his home off Hoffmeyer Road in Florence to try to serve Hopkins’ son, Seth, with a warrant as part of an investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a foster child at the home.
Seth Hopkins pleaded guilty in December 2019 to a sex charge involving a minor and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Callaway died at the hospital after the shooting, while Turner died on Oct. 22, nearly three weeks after the incident. They were both later inducted into the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.
During the investigation, News13 learned that authorities had been to the Vintage Place residence dozens of times over several years before the deadly shooting.
This is a developing story. News13 will have team coverage of Thursday’s sentencing hearing online and throughout our afternoon and evening newscasts.