GCSO releases bodycam footage showing dog stabbed, officers shooting man

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office has released additional information about a shooting involving deputies, Homeland Security and a 51-year-old man.

On May 13, GCSO deputies and Homeland Security agents shot and killed James Edgar Hopkins near Pine Knoll Drive and Wade Hampton Boulevard. Hopkins had active arrest warrants out of Spartanburg County for first-degree distribution of methamphetamine, trafficking heroin/morphine, and failure to appear in court.

According to reports, Hopkins resisted when officers attempted to arrest him based on the warrants and stabbed a K9 police dog before being shot.

The GCSO released a critical incident community briefing Thursday showing the incident in progress with GCSO Lt. Ryan Flood narrating the video. The video showed body camera footage from four GCSO deputies involved in the incident.

The video shows the moment officers attempted to arrest Hopkins and the moment the K9 attempted to subdue him. It also shows footage of officers shooting Hopkins.

After being shot, Hopkins was taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital. He was later charged by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division with aggravated disturbing the peace, cruelty to a police dog and resisting arrest with a deadly weapon.

Greenville Sheriff Hobart Lewis says in the video that three deputies fired their weapons at Hopkins.

Iinitial use of force

GCSO officers went to Woodlawn Cemetery to assist Homeland Security in arresting Hopkins. Hopkins arrived at the cemetery unaware that the officers were there.

In the video, the first body camera image came from a tagged K9 handler at 2:58 p.m. The video showed officers exiting their vehicles with guns drawn and demanding that Hopkins “show your hands.” During the verbal exchange, the handler threatened Hopkins, saying, “You’re going to get bitten by a dog.”

Hopkins slowly walked away from the deputies when, 10 seconds later, the K9's handler released the dog to charge at Hopkins.

According to another deputy's body camera footage, Hopkins could be heard saying, “I don't know who you are, man.” » The deputies responded by identifying themselves as deputies two seconds before the K9 charged Hopkins.

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During the video, while Hopkins was being subdued by the K9, he pulled out what was labeled as a knife and stabbed the dog multiple times. After stabbing the animal, the K9 handler fired shots at Hopkins but missed.

Other officers fired Tasers and BB guns, but were unable to subdue Hopkins, who then fled across the street.

Footage taken from one of the deputies' body cameras showed Hopkins, after stabbing the K9, stand up and swing what appeared to be the knife at the deputies.

After the dog was stabbed, its owner caught it and gave it immediate care. The stabbed dog was taken to a veterinary hospital and released on May 15.

At least nine shots fired

Body camera footage shows Hopkins running toward a Bank of America parking lot, pursued by officers who ask him to get on the ground. Hopkins stopped, then brandished what appeared to be the knife and pointed it at the officers.

In body camera footage tagged at 2:59 p.m., Hopkins told officers, “Kill me, do it.” Seconds later, officers fired at least nine shots at Hopkins. As Hopkins lay on the ground, officers could be heard telling him not to move. While moaning on the ground, Hopkins yelled, “Thank you.”

A GCSO deputy then handcuffed Hopkins.

“Fearing for their lives and the lives of innocent bystanders, the officers shot and beat the suspect,” Flood said in his narration of the video.

More: SLED Releases Additional Information Regarding Officer Shooting on Wade Hampton Boulevard

SLED investigated the incident and took Hopkin's knife as evidence. According to Lewis, the officers involved were cleared after an internal review by the GCSO's Office of Professional Standards.

The three deputies who each fired their weapons have been placed on paid administrative leave as a protocol.

“The Office of Professional Standards determined that the actions of the three deputies were justified in the use of deadly force in accordance with the Sheriff’s Office’s use of force policy,” Lewis said in the video.

No deputies were injured in the incident. Hopkins remains in the hospital in stable condition. The officers involved in the shooting are back on patrol.

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