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FBI Called To Florence Crime Scene

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Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been called to a sprawling, suburban crime scene in Florence, South Carolina where a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran is alleged to have opened fire on law enforcement officers Wednesday afternoon.

One officer was killed and six others were wounded during this shootout – which began shortly after 4:00 p.m. EDT in the upscale Vintage Place subdivision of Florence, a city of nearly 40,000 located at the convergence of Interstates 20 and 95.

Police have identified 74-year-old Frederick Thomas Hopkins as the alleged triggerman in the incident, which began when deputies of the Florence County sheriff’s office attempted to serve a search warrant at a home owned by his wife, local family law attorney Cheryl Turner-Hopkins.

In addition to opening fire on them – law enforcement sources say Frederick Hopkins proceeded to fire upon officers of the Florence police department who attempted to come to the aid of their fallen comrades.  One Florence police officer, 52-year-old Terrence Carraway of Darlington, S.C. – was killed in the hail of gunfire.

Ordinarily, investigations of shootings involving South Carolina law enforcement officers are handled by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  However in this case, due to a personal grudge against SLED held by Florence County sheriff Kenney Boone, the agency’s crime scene investigators were kicked off the crime scene.

Not only that, a SLED special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team initially dispatched to respond to the shooting was actually called away from the scene.

What gives?  It’s complicated …

In lieu of SLED, Boone referred the case to detectives of the Richland County sheriff’s department – who were also summoned to Florence by the sheriff to investigate alleged threats made against him during a personal dispute that occurred in mid-July.

According to our sources, Richland County detectives had to call in the FBI because the crime scene related to this shooting was “too big and too complicated” for them to handle on their own.

In fact, we are not just talking about regional FBI investigators.  According to our sources, the feds are having to send in lab technicians and forensic experts from Washington, D.C. to assist with the crime scene.

“It’s a mess,” one law enforcement source told us.

Indeed …

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