FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Reports from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office reveal a number of domestic incidents within the past two years involving the Hopkins family including alleged assaults, stolen firearms, stolen money and drug use.
Fred Hopkins, 74, is accused of ambushing officers as they responded to his home October 3 to execute a search warrant for a criminal sexual conduct investigation involving his son, Seth Hopkins, 28.
Fred Hopkins is charged with murder and six counts of attempted murder. Those charges are expected to be upgraded after Florence County Investigator Farrah Turner passed away from her injuries Monday night. Florence Police Sergeant Terrence Carraway was also killed in the shooting.
WMBF News Investigates looked into how many calls the Florence County Sheriff’s Office received to respond the Hopkins Home on Ashton Lane since January 2017. Through the Freedom of Information Act, we obtained multiple police reports referencing incidents involving one of the Hopkins’ adopted sons running away from home and stealing from them. We also learned about alleged assaults between the Hopkins' siblings.
We went through those reports and broke them down for you.
A report dated December 22, 2017 says deputies responded to the home when someone living there reported $300 worth of perfume stolen. The person said they called Belk, where the perfume was purchased, and asked the store to be on the lookout for the son who may attempt to return the items for money. Belk contacted the victim to say they had the son on camera returning the perfume and receiving money. The victim told deputies the son had been hanging out with an older kid in the neighborhood who talks the son into stealing and doing drugs with him. The person told deputies they believe the two were together when this happened.
According to an incident report dated May 31, 2017, deputies responded to the Hopkins home in reference to a stolen truck. Fred Hopkins claimed one of his children stole the car in the early morning hours. Hopkins believed his child may have gone to their friend’s house near Camden, SC. A short time later, Hopkins called deputies back and said his child returned home and he did not want to press charges.
The same night, May 31, 2017, a report shows deputies responded to McLeod Regional Medical Center for an alleged assault. The Hopkins child, the one accused of stealing the truck in report #2, said one of the other Hopkins brothers was assaulted by one of the older brothers. While the suspect’s name is redacted in the report, we do know neither of the brothers involved were Seth Hopkins. The Hopkins child who reported the incident claimed the older brother slammed the younger brother into the ground.
Deputies responded to the home to meet with the sons and Fred Hopkins. Fred Hopkins claimed the younger son causes the family a lot of problems by staying away from home for weeks at a time, and they were tired of him not going to school and smoking marijuana. When deputies asked why they never report the younger son as missing, Fred and the older brother explained he “always comes back.”
When deputies asked about the alleged assault, Fred Hopkin’s older son said he found the younger son hiding in the garage. He then claimed he pulled the younger son by the collar and the younger son tripped over his foot.
The younger son told deputies he felt like he was slammed on the ground, but he may have been tripped instead of picked up and slammed. According to the report, deputies did not have enough evidence to charge the older son with assault.
The Hopkins child who reported this assault was also accused of stealing Fred Hopkins’s truck, as mentioned in Report #2. When responding to the assault allegations between the older and younger brother, the older brother was asked about what happened with the child accused of stealing the truck.
He said he saw the truck returned by the other Hopkins child who he described as “obviously drunk.” The older brother claimed he was angry, so he put his sibling in his truck and drove them to Darlington County, near Hartsville, where the allegedly intoxicated sibling was left on the side of the road.
That Hopkins child later told deputies the older son opened the truck door when they stopped in Darlington County and repeatedly punched them in the head. The person claims they pretended to be dead. The report also said the person said to the older brother, “You know you should have killed me right?” To which the brother replied, “Yeah you’re right.”
That’s when the reportedly intoxicated child claims they were pushed out of the car on to a dirt road, and the older brother slammed their hand in the door before driving off. The Hopkins child claimed they begged not to be left there.
A Darlington County Deputy found the sibling in the middle of nowhere. The deputy said the person appeared to be heavily intoxicated and the person child claimed to be assaulted by the older brother who stranded them there. The alleged victim was transported to McLeod Regional Medical Center where Florence County Deputies met with them. According to the report, the Hopkins child had swelling on their head, a scraped elbow and a bloody hand.
WMBF News could not find any records showing the Hopkins son accused in the assault was charged in the incident.
In an incident report dated January 11, someone living in the home called deputies to say one of the Hopkins sons steals money and other valuables from the home, rarely attends school and is “constantly running away from home and stays gone for several days at a time.” The complainant also accused the son of stealing antique firearms from the home, $700, prescription pain medication, family heirlooms and a $250 perfume set. The caller claimed they’ve called the Department of Juvenile Justice because they don’t know what to do with him anymore. At the time this report was written, the person told deputies they didn’t know where the son was and they believed he had run away again.
The son returned home and admitted to stealing from his parents, but claimed he didn’t steal as much as they said he did. He told deputies his parents misplace things and blame him for it.
The son told deputies, “the only reason he runs away is because his parents are constantly fussing at him about everything,” the report states. He then said he never really runs away. He claims he just leaves to cool off when he gets upset and when he returns home, his parents lock the door and refuse to let him inside, so he goes and stays with a friend.
On March 8, a report shows deputies responded to the Hopkins home after Fred Hopkins reported his adopted son as missing. The name of that son was redacted in the report, but we know it was not Seth Hopkins.
According to the incident report, Hopkins told deputies his son was “habitually running away.” The son had been missing for three weeks, but returned home for just 15 minutes before sneaking back out of the house. Deputies learned the missing son has behavioral issues and was prescribed medication, but Hopkins was in possession of the prescription, so the missing son had not been taking it.
Hopkins also told deputies his older son, Seth, was missing a pistol, but he wasn’t sure if the son who ran away was in possession of that weapon.
The next time deputies documented an incident at the Hopkins home on Ashton Drive was October 3. A deputy says he heard radio traffic about several law enforcement officers injured by gunfire.