An Illinois state trooper and father of three died Friday after he was shot while serving a “high risk” search warrant, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Trooper Nick Hopkins, 33, was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. Friday at St. Louis University Hospital.
“It is nearly impossible to express the depth of my sadness,” Brendan Kelly, acting director of the Illinois State Police, said. “Nick Hopkins was a bright light in this world.”
Hopkins had a decade of experience with the Illinois State Police.
He leaves behind a wife, 4-year-old twins, and an infant daughter, according to Tom Smith, the mayor of Waterloo, Illinois, where Hopkins had lived.
Hopkins served in the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit of the Illinois State Police. He was the first trooper to be shot and killed in the line of duty in 30 years.
According to authorities, police were serving a high-risk search warrant shortly after 5 a.m. in a “particularly dangerous” part of East St. Louis, Steve Weinhoeft, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said.
Body of Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins to be moved from SLU Hospital to another medical facility.
Posted by Fox2Now on Friday, August 23, 2019
“He was trying to make that community safer for every man, woman and child,” Weinhoeft said.
Hopkins was shot as gunfire erupted shortly before 5:30 a.m.
Police arrested one person at about 6 a.m. and three people in total were detained.
Neighbor Dorothy Burns, who lives about two blocks away from the scene, said she was awake at 5:30 a.m. with her husband, who was preparing to leave for work.
“All I heard is boom, boom — two shots,” Burns said. “Then it sounded like an explosion and I saw smoke like they were trying to smoke ‘em out.”
By mid-morning Friday, numerous Illinois State Police vehicles were parked outside of the St. Louis University Hospital emergency room.
Kelly said he hoped the shooting that resulted in Hopkins’ death would become “the subject of prosecution.”
Back at the scene of the shooting, police remained at the house all day to assess whether any other suspects were inside. By 4 p.m., two loud bangs could be heard and an armored vehicle went near the home, according to the newspaper. Police then sprayed water into the second-floor window.
Police entered the residence by 7:30 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m. said there was no longer a public threat.
Three other Illinois State Troopers died this year: two were struck by vehicles and a third was in an automobile crash.
“Even at this dark moment, his light is shining,” Kelly said.
Hopkins’ organs will be donated and could help as many as 40 people, according to Kelly, who said Hopkins was “healthy as a horse” and had “amazingly strong hands.”
A police motorcade escorted Hopkins’ body from St. Louis University Hospital to a different facility Friday evening, KTVI-TV reported.
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[Feature Photo: Barry Bennett via AP/Wilbur Funches]