Search warrant details what led Florence County officers to home where gunfire erupted

Seth Hopkins (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Seth Hopkins (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Updated: Oct. 19, 2018 at 5:23 PM EDT
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FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A search warrant is shedding light on what led Florence County law enforcement officers to an area home, where they were ambushed by gunfire.

WMBF News obtained the warrant through a Freedom of Information Act request. That warrant, filed Oct. 3, was for 28-year-old Seth Hopkins. It alleges he sexually assaulted two victims, one a minor, for years.

According to the warrant, clothing from that child would be found within the suspect’s bedroom.

The warrant was obtained after the complainant and the victim met with Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Oct. 1 and made allegations of the sexual assault. The child claimed she had been assaulted for three years, most recently on Sept. 28.

In the warrant, it references a source who told authorities the victim’s clothing would be found in the suspect’s bedroom.

“During the course of an active investigation, it is evident that Hopkins is collecting mementos from the past assaults,” the warrant stated.

Chuck Canterbury, retired Fraternal Order of Police President, said that type of behavior is rare and indicates a possibility of multiple victims.

"Anybody that keeps mementos from that type of sexual assault has the probability of being either a serial rapist or the beginnings of a serial rapist so very few people keep mementos from crimes," Canterbury said.

Authorities went to 932 Ashton Drive in Florence to serve the warrant. There, three FCSO deputies and four Florence police officers were hit by gunfire after the suspect’s father, 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins, allegedly opened fire.

One of the officers, Sgt. Terrence Carraway, died from his injuries.

Reiterating Richland Sheriff Leon Lott the incident is something Canterbury said couldn't have been prevented, but will be something to learn from.

"In a law enforcement ambushed the only person that has any fore-knowledge is the person that's going to commit it," Canterbury said. "I'm sure that law enforcement around the country will use the circumstances and try to build information, tendencies and those types of things."

Fred Hopkins faces one count of murder and six counts of attempted murder. Seth Hopkins was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14.

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