As they were attempting to serve an arrest warrant for a sex offender, seven police officers were shot, two of whom were killed. Now, the surviving officers have brought a major lawsuit against the offender’s entire family.
Upon allegations that a foster child was being sexually assaulted, three Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputies approached the home of Frederick and Cheryl Hopkins to carry out an arrest warrant for their 27-year-old son, Seth Hopkins. Before they even reached the door, the 74-year-old patriarch opened fire with a high-powered rifle from inside his house, Greenville News reports.
All three officers were shot, prompting four Florence Police Department officers to rush in to help the fallen deputies. They too were shot by Frederick, and FPD Sergeant Terrence Carraway, 52, was killed in the attack. After 9 surgeries over the course of several weeks, FCSO Investigator Farrah “Maxine” Turner ultimately succumbed to her injuries.
All seven officers sustained gunshot wounds, including FPD Officer Brian Hart, who shot in the hand, and FCSO Deputy Arie Davis, who was shot in the leg. FPD Officer Travis Scott, Officer Scott Williamson, and FCSO Investigator Sarah Miller also suffered various wounds.
Cheryl and Frederick had a total of 11 adopted and biological children who lived in the home. Seth was initially charged with sexual conduct involving a minor under the age of 11 and sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14. He was later charged with five additional counts of sexual conduct involving a minor less than 11 years old, two counts of sexual conduct involving a minor under 16, and one count of voyeurism. He pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and received 20 years in prison.
Following the deadly ambush, Frederick was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. However, he isn’t being held solely responsible for the fatal shootout with the police. In fact, several officers have decided to bring a major lawsuit against the whole family.
Deputy Arie Davis and Officer Brian Hart have launched lawsuits against Frederick Hopkins, Seth Hopkins, Cheryl Hopkins, and David Suggs as trustees of the Suggs Family Revocable Trust, WPDE reported. The lawsuits allege that the “injuries and damages” the officers sustained “were directly and proximately caused by” those involved.
Firstly, the lawsuits accuse Seth Hopkins of “careless, negligent, grossly negligent, willful, wanton, reckless, and unlawful acts” in the following categories as well as other particulars that may be introduced at trial:
- Sexually assaulting minor children;b. Asking Defendant Frederick Hopkins for protection from law enforcement investigations;
- Causing law enforcement to arrive at the residence of Frederick Hopkins;
- Permitting Frederick Hopkins to fire upon police in his protection;
- Knowing firearms were present in the house and failing to advise police of their presence and the dangerous propensities of Frederick Hopkins;
- Failing to stop Frederick Hopkins from firing upon law enforcement.
Likewise, Cheryl was accused of allowing children and her mentally unstable husband unfettered access to firearms and allowing Seth to sexually abuse a child. She and Suggs were accused of “careless, negligent, grossly negligent, willful, wanton, reckless, and unlawful acts” in multiple categories:
- In keeping firearms in the home; b. In keeping unsecured firearms in the home;
- In failing to secure the firearms in the home;
- In keeping unsecured firearms in the home when another resident of the home, namely Frederick Hopkins, suffered from mental disorders;
- In keeping unsecured firearms in the home when another resident of the home, namely Frederick Hopkins, exhibited violent tendencies;
- In permitting Seth Hopkins to sexually assault minor children;
- In failing to prevent Frederick Hopkins from firing upon and shooting law enforcement officers, including the Plaintiff;
- In knowing firearms were present in the house and failing to advise law enforcement of their presence and the dangerous propensities of Frederick Hopkins.
The lawsuits accuse both parents of trying to protect their son from the consequences of the law as well as turning a blind eye to his sexual abuse of at least one of their other children. Because of those involved, the lives of multiple children and police officers are forever changed for the worse.
The lawsuits highlight the possibility of police officers being empowered to assign responsibility to those involved in crimes even if they didn’t directly cause said crimes. It just might make people think twice before defending criminals.