FLORENCE, S.C. — The Vietnam veteran and disbarred lawyer accused of shooting seven law enforcement officers, killing one, bragged online about his marksmanship and love for the “smell of gunpowder” in the years before the deadly standoff, records and social media posts unearthed Thursday showed.

Frederick Hopkins lost his law license in the 1980s for mishandling money and faced several minor criminal charges in recent years, including disorderly conduct in 2014.

It was around the time of his disbarment that he got serious about amateur target-shooting, according to the records and posts.

More details also emerged about the two-hour standoff in which authorities say Hopkins’ gunfire prevented officers from rescuing comrades who lay bleeding on the ground. The slain officer, a 30-year veteran, was tearfully described as the “epitome of a community police officer” by his chief.

Two wounded city officers were released from the hospital. A third officer was listed in serious but stable condition, the police chief said. He said he did not know the conditions of three wounded sheriff’s deputies.

Hopkins is accused of opening fire Wednesday from his home in an affluent South Carolina neighborhood after deputies tried to carry out a search warrant. He also allegedly held children hostage inside, authorities said.


It was not clear exactly how the confrontation ended. Authorities would say only that the gunman released the children as he was taken into custody.

Hopkins was hospitalized with a head injury and unable to speak with officers, Columbia, South Carolina, television station WIS reported Thursday.

The warrant involved an accusation that a 27-year-old person at the home sexually assaulted a foster child who lives there, Florence County Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby said.

Back in 2016, the 74-year-old Hopkins posted photos on Facebook of guns set up for target practice, bragging that he was the state’s 2011 “3-Gun Silhouette Champion.” In a 2014 post, he said he celebrated his 70th birthday at a range by repeatedly firing his M14 rifle, which he “set up exactly like the one I used in Vietnam.”

“I have been shooting competitively since 1984 and lovin’ it. I just love the smell of gunpowder in the mornin’s,” the post said.

His competitive shooting would have begun around the time he lost his law license over $18,000 in wrongfully collected attorney fees. A court order shows that the state Supreme Court in 1984 allowed Hopkins to pay back the debt over time and surrender his license rather than complete a six-month jail term.

Court documents also show that he was injured in Vietnam and received disability payments. The filing does not elaborate on the injury.

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