Crime

Man charged with killing Illinois State Police trooper

Kelly announces trooper’s death

Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly on August 23, 2019, announced the death of SWAT Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, who was shot during an exchange of gunfire when officers were serving a search warrant in East St. Louis, IL.
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Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly on August 23, 2019, announced the death of SWAT Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, who was shot during an exchange of gunfire when officers were serving a search warrant in East St. Louis, IL.

Chris R. Grant has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Illinois State Police trooper Nicholas Hopkins, authorities announced late Saturday.

“On August 23, (Grant) shot Trooper Nicholas Hopkins with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm, thereby causing Trooper Hopkins’ death,” the charging document states.

Grant, 45, is being held in the St. Clair County Jail, according to a news release from State’s Attorney James Gomric’s office. A judge set Grant’s bail at $5 million.

The ISP has released no other information about Grant’s background. According to St. Clair County Circuit Clerk records, he has had multiple criminal charges levied against him including a 2003 felony conviction for the manufacture, delivery and possession of narcotics near a school for which he was sentenced to four years in prison plus fines.

Any charges against two others taken into custody have not been released.

Hopkins, a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) operator with ISP, was killed while serving a warrant at an East St. Louis duplex in the 1400 block of Caseyville Avenue at North 42nd Street at about 5:30 a.m. Friday. Other officers transported him to the hospital in St. Louis.

State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly said during a news conference at St. Louis University Hospital that Hopkins succumbed to his injuries at 6:10 p.m. Friday.

Three suspects were taken into custody early Friday morning. Officers from local police agencies, Illinois State Police, SWAT, and K-9 units spent the next 10 hours outside the duplex trying to determine if a fourth suspect was holed up inside.

An armored truck equipped with a battering ram, gas bombs, concussion grenades and a flood of water shot from a fire department pumper engine were used to flush out anyone who reminded inside.

Late Friday night, state police issued a release stating that “there is no longer a threat to public safety surrounding the residence” where Hopkins was shot. Law enforcement officials have not released the reasons the search warrant was issued.

“There are no other suspects in the house. We are done processing the scene,” Kelly said. “The officers were there processing the scene (into the early morning hours Saturday), and making sure the house was secure.”

Crime scene investigators and investigative agents would continue to process the scene throughout the night and into Saturday, according to the news release.

“ISP is conducting a complete and thorough investigation into this matter which will take time. Once additional information becomes available, the ISP will provide those updates,” according to the news release.

Hopkins, 33, was a husband and father of 4-year-old twins and a newly born daughter. His hometown of Waterloo was in mourning, displaying black and blue ribbons on the city’s police department sign and other buildings in the city. Flags were also flown at half-staff.

“Out deepest sympathies go out to the family of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins and the Illinois State Police for their loss,” a statement from State’s Attorney Jim Gomric’s office said.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

Why doesn't the BND's initial report have more information about the man who was charged?

The charge was announced in a press release from the state’s attorney late Saturday night. The release included his name but no other background information about him. We wanted to let readers know about the charge immediately, so we posted the article. We are working on getting more details today.

The release from State’s Attorney James Gomric’s office also included this statement:

“Members of the public are reminded that the criminal charges against Chris R. Grant are only an allegation and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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