FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – An East St. Louis man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for the Aug. 2019 murder of an Illinois State Police trooper.
Christopher Grant pleaded guilty on July 9, 2021, to second-degree murder and other drug and gun charges.
Grant, 47, admitted to shooting and killing Trooper Nicholas Hopkins on the morning of Aug. 23, 2019.
“Trooper Hopkins came to the streets of East St. Louis. He was here to protect the community, women, and children,” said Brendan F. Kelly, director of the Illinois State Police. “There is nothing we can do that will ever bring back what was lost and the damage to the soul of the people of the community and police. There is nothing that will bring him back.”
Hopkins and other troopers were attempting to serve a search warrant at a residence in the 1400 block of N. 42nd Street and Caseyville Avenue just before 5:30 a.m. An ISP investigation revealed that Grant was selling marijuana and crack cocaine from the home. Members of the ISP SWAT Team were called to assist with the execution of that warrant.
According to prosecutors, Trooper Hopkins assisted two SWAT members with attaching chains connected to a police vehicle onto bars protecting the front door of the residence. Law enforcement was attempting to remove the bars so they could enter the home.
Hopkins had just finished connecting the chains to the bars and had turned to walk off the front porch when he was shot. Officers and SWAT members returned fire and eventually took several people into custody at the home.
Meanwhile, Trooper Hopkins was rushed to St. Louis University Hospital where doctors attempted to save his life. He was pronounced dead later that day. He was 33.
When law enforcement searched the home, they recovered an AR-15 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, and five handguns. Grant’s DNA was found on the pistol used to kill Trooper Hopkins.
In March 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Grant for Hopkins’ murder.
Grant was also charged with distribution of crack cocaine, maintaining a drug house, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, use of a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Prosecutors later agreed to drop the drug possession and use of firearm charges after Grant pleaded guilty to murder.
As part of the plea deal, Grant admitted to blindly firing a 9mm handgun three times toward whoever was on the front porch.
The judge ultimately sentenced Grant to 480 months in federal prison.