By CARL GREEN
Edwardsville, IL – Honors for Nicholas J. Hopkins, the Illinois State Trooper killed in the line of duty on Aug. 23, continued last week with a fund-raising event for Backstoppers, the group that assists families of fallen police officers.
Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Edwardsville and Shiloh hosted the event, contributing 10 percent of the proceeds to the Backstoppers in honor of Hopkins.
Edwardsville Manager Jose Sosa said they had a much bigger crowd than usual for a Monday night. “They really must have got the word out about this,” he said.
Hopkins, 33, was a Fraternal Order of Police member, the son of Iron Workers Local 392 retiree James Hopkins and the grandson of Charles J. Hopkins, the longtime financial secretary and treasurer of Local 392. He died in January.
Trooper Hopkins was shot in an exchange of gunfire as his State Police SWAT Team served a search warrant about 5:30 a.m. at a duplex in the 1400 block of N. 42nd Street in East St. Louis. He died at 6:10 p.m. that day at St. Louis University Hospital.
The gunman, Christopher Grant, 45, has been charged with first-degree murder and other charges, and is being held on $5 million bond. Another man, Al Stewart, Jr., was charged with armed violence, obstructing justice and cannabis possession in connection with the incident. Police said Stewart hid a .40-caliber Glock handgun after the shooting.
BORN IN RED BUD
Nick Hopkins, 33, was born in Red Bud in 1986. He was married, had three young children and had been a trooper for 10 years.
“Nick was a son, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, friend, carpenter, and trooper, but the job he loved most was being a husband and father,” his family said. “Nick will live on through the memories we cherish and in how we emulate his passion for life.”
Trooper Hopkins is survived by his wife, Whitney Hopkins; children Evelyn, Owen and Emma; parents James Hopkins and Verna Hopkins; brothers and sisters Valerie Dortch, Zack Hopkins, Emily Auffenberg, Gabe Hopkins and Abby Hopkins; and his grandmother, Evelyn Hopkins.
Local 392 President and Business Agent John Herrington said the tragedy has had a profound effect on the union and its members. “He was just such a strong community leader and family man,” Herrington said. “There just aren’t many like him.”
Hopkins was the first Illinois State Police trooper shot and killed in 30 years and the first Illinois State Police SWAT member to be fatally shot on duty.
He can be memorialized with a donation to the BackStoppers by going online to backstoppers.org or through the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation, online at isphf.org/donations. Write “Trooper Nick Hopkins Memorial Fund” in the comment section or send donations by mail to P.O. Box 8168, Springfield, Ill. 62791.