Judge grants mental health evaluation of man charged in deadly Florence ambush


FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A judge granted a mental health evaluation for the man charged in the October ambush shooting of several police officers in Florence.

Solicitor Ed Clements, with the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, filed an order of transportation to bring Frederick Hopkins back to Florence County from Richland County to ask a judge to order a mental evaluation.

Clements is asking for the evaluation after Hopkins sent letters to a news outlet claiming he suffers from PTSD.

The judge on Monday granted the order and also put a gag order in place so Hopkins, the solicitor’s office and the police can no longer release information regarding the case.  

Clements requested the gag order, saying there is information he wishes hadn’t come out. Hopkins legal representative also said she wanted a gag order because Hopkins didn’t need to be connecting to the media.

Hopkins, 74, is charged in connection to the October shooting of several law enforcement officers in Florence’s Vintage Place neighborhood.

Eight people were shot during the shooting on October 3, including seven law enforcement officers. Sgt. Terrence Carraway was killed in the shooting and Inv. Farrah Turner died on Oct. 22. 

Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Sarah Miller returned to work in early April after being injured in the shooting.

Florence Police Sgt. Scott Williamson was also injured in the shooting and returned to limited duty on April 2.

In January, News13 reported that a pre-filed bill in the South Carolina Senate, intended to change rules regarding the handling of officer-involved shootings across the state, was pushed through a Senate subcommittee, and would go to the full judiciary committee.

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