Hero Down: Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins Murdered By Gunman

Sandy Malone

Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins was murdered while serving a warrant as part of a SWAT operation on Friday.

East St. Louis, IL – Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins was murdered in the line of duty while serving a warrant on Friday morning.

“I stand before you to inform you of the untimely and tragic death of another Illinois State police trooper. The fourth in 2019,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly told reporters at a press conference on Friday night.

Trooper Hopkins, 33, was fatally shot while serving a warrant with his team at a home near Caseyville Avenue and North 42nd Street at about 5:26 a.m. on Aug. 23, KMOV reported.

Director Kelly said that the warrant service was a major undertaking that involved a large number of officers.

“This was a standard, organized, well-executed, SWAT-executed search warrant,” Director Kelly explained.

“There was an exchange of gunfire at the residence and Trooper Hopkins was struck,” he continued.

The trooper was shot in the head.

Trooper Hopkins, a 10-year-veteran of the Illinois State Police, was transported to St. Louis University Hospital with life-threatening injuries and died at 6:10 p.m., according to Director Kelly.

He said police quickly took three suspects into custody after the trooper was shot.

Trooper Hopkins was a 2004 graduate of Waterloo High School, according to the Republic-Times.

He went on to McKendree University in Lebanon where he played football from 2004 to 2008.

His older brother, Zack Hopkins, is a police sergeant with the Columbia Police Department and their father, Jim Hopkins, is a longtime alderman in the town of Waterloo, the Republic-Times reported.

Trooper Hopkins is survived by his wife, four-year-old twins, a newborn daughter, three sisters, and two brothers.

Director Kelly said that Trooper Hopkins served seven years on patrol but spent the majority of his time with the Illinois State Police in SWAT.

“He had an excellent reputation and the position that he was in was one of the people who go in first,” the director said.

He thanked all of the police officers and sheriff’s deputies who assisted the state police after Trooper Hopkins was shot.

Director Kelly also thanked the state troopers who “performed CPR for an extended period” so that Trooper Hopkins’ family would be able to see him alive one more time and say goodbye.

The director said that Trooper Hopkins was the first SWAT operator lost in 20 years.

He also said that in the Illinois State Police’s 100-year history, the agency had never lost three troopers in a year.

“In this darkness, we have to grasp for the light,” Director Kelly said. “Nick Hopkins was a bright light in this world. Outwardly shining with the integrity and pride of serving in the Illinois State Police as an Illinois State Police trooper.”

He said that Trooper Hopkins was an organ donor.

“Even now he continues to serve others,” Director Kelly said. “He will donate his organs and his very body to help others. He would want us all to know that he was healthy as a horse, and that a healthy body like his can help save or improve the lives of as many as 40 people through organ donation.”

“Even in death, even in this dark moment, his light is shining,” he said.

Steven D. Weinhoeft, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said federal prosecutors were already assisting with the investigation.

“At a time when law enforcement is increasingly under attack, the United States attorney’s office and the federal government is here to say ‘enough,” Weinhoeft told reporters. “We are here to pledge that we will bring every resource that we have to bear to support this investigation, to support the state police, to support the state’s attorney’s office, and to ensure and seek justice in this case.”

“This situation is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” he continued. “It reminds us of the risks that law enforcement faces every day and the tremendous courage that is displayed by the men and women in law enforcement who go out and work. They deserve our gratitude, they deserve our respect, and today, they deserve our deepest sympathies and our support.”

Director Kelly said the investigation into the incident was ongoing and he wasn’t able to share many details of what happened inside the house where Trooper Hopkins was shot.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Trooper Hopkins, your life mattered.

Comments (31)
No. 1-11

This makes more sense that the first post on his death. At least he was part of a SWAT team and they knew what they were up against. Knowing East Saint Louis as I do, one or two cops serving a warrant would be suicide. Terrible he died, but good that those going in knew the risk and took appropriate action.




RIP Brother and condolences to the family.


Tough one as they all are. May God bless Trooper Hopkins, his wife, family and friends. This man is still living on in the recipients of his organs. 🙏🏼💙🖤💙🖤🇺🇸

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Have the residents yet said whether they knew that Officer Hopkins was a policeman, or, alternatively, whether they thought he was a home invader?


It should be insatnt execution for anyone whio kills a police officer. Simple as that.


Prayers to his family. It was in East St Louis so odds are this is yet another black on blue crime.


I wish the law would make it a death sentence to deal with people like this. Street justice as they call it.


Another black drug dealer im sure...

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The family of the man charged in the shooting death of an Illinois State Police SWAT trooper said he was awakened by a loud boom and thought someone was breaking into his East St. Louis home when the trooper was shot.

The suspect, Christopher Grant, 45, has been charged in the death of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins, 33, of Waterloo. Hopkins and other SWAT operators had gone to 1426 N. 42nd St. to serve a search warrant about 5:30 a.m. last Friday.

Grant is being held in the St. Clair County Jail on $5 million bail.

Christopher Grant’s brother, Torrance Grant, spoke to the Belleville News-Democrat on behalf of the suspect’s family. Torrance Grant said the family believes that Christopher was asleep in the home and that he thought someone was breaking in his house. He said when another brother talked to him by phone, Christopher was crying and was devastated.

“He had no idea that the person coming into his home was a police officer. He would have surrendered,” Torrance Grant said.

Brendan Kelly, acting director of the Illinois State Police, said he could not comment on the specifics of a pending criminal case.

However, he did say the SWAT team executed a “no-knock” search warrant.

Torrance Grant said their mother is in deep pain over the situation.

“We don’t have nothing but the utmost respect for law enforcement. When something happens that’s who we call. We all depend on the police to be there to help keep us safe.

“We are not just grieving because our family member is locked up. We are grieving because of the whole situation. Someone has lost their life. We feel sorry for the officer, his wife, kids and his family,” he said.

“We know a lot of people don’t want to hear our story, but we want the Hopkins family to know, our family is mourning, too.

“Every time I see or hear something pertaining to that day, I cry. It is very sad. We want the community to know. We always knew it was not something he would do.”

Torrance Grant said the family questions the way police do surprise visits to residences.

“We are not only fighting for the rights of my brother, his freedom. We are fighting to get the procedure changed,” Torrance Grant said. “Going into these high-crime areas at that time of morning when people are in their deepest sleep, is a mistake. People on both sides (residents and law enforcement) are going to get killed. People in these high-crime areas protect their homes with guns. Some have guns. Some of them don’t.”

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The shooter says that he didn't know it was police, and that he thought he was shooting at home invaders. There will be a jury trial to decide whether this was true or not. No instant execution. Perhaps no crime at all.

Fallen Heroes