CHICAGO (CBS) — An Illinois State Police trooper was fatally wounded in a shootout early Friday morning while executing a search warrant in East St. Louis.
Police said ISP South SWAT Trooper Nick Hopkins was executing a search warrant at a home on the 1400 block of North 42nd Street in East St. Louis shortly before 5:30 a.m.
“There was an exchange of gunfire at the residence and the Trooper was struck,” police stated in a news release.
The 33-year-old trooper and father of three was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. He is a 10-year veteran of the force.
ISP Director Brendan Kelly wouldn’t say why the warrant was being served, but after the gunfire stopped, three people were arrested.
“We have three individuals that were taken into custody at the scene,” he said. “We are not at the stage where we can release their specific identities. That will be forthcoming as it is appropriate depending on whether or not they remain in custody.”
Hopkins died of his injuries shortly after 6 p.m. Friday afternoon, ISP confirmed.
His death comes eight days after another ISP trooper was shot serving a warrant in northwest suburban Wheeling. Volodymyr Dragon, 43, is now charged with attempted murder for that crime.
It’s been a tragic year for the department. Hopkins is the fourth state trooper killed this year, the deadliest year in state police history.
In January, Trooper Christopher Lambert was hit by a car while helping at an accident scene.
In March, Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed by a truck during a traffic stop.
And two days later Trooper Gerald Ellis died after colliding with a wrong-way driver on 294.
Director Kelly touched on how difficult the year has been.
“But in this darkness, we have to grasp for the light,” he said. “Nick Hopkins was a bright light in this world.”
Hopkins was a member of the SWAT team. His family is asking for privacy.
Charges are pending.