EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The man convicted of firing the shot that killed an Illinois State Police trooper will spend an additional 38 years behind bars.
Christopher R. Grant, 47, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday in the 2019 deadly shooting of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Grant had pleaded guilty to six charges: use of a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug tracking crime, maintaining a drug house, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and three counts of distributing crack cocaine.
A federal judge sentenced Grant to 40 years with credit for time served. He’s been behind bars for two years and three months, so he still has nearly 38 years left on his sentence.
Grant faced a minimum of 10 years in prison and the maximum was life in prison.
Grant lived in the East St. Louis home where Trooper Nick Hopkins and other officers were serving a search warrant for drug offenses one morning back in August 2019. Hopkins was helping set up hooks and chains to the steel bars protecting Grant’s home in an effort to forcibly remove them from the front door, prosecutors said. As he turned around to walk away, he was shot by someone inside the home, police said.
Grant said he had been sleeping on a couch in the living room when he woke up to sounds on his front porch. Grant claimed he thought he was being robbed, which had happened to him about two weeks before, so he pulled out a .9 mm gun and fired three shots toward the front door. One of the shots struck and killed Hopkins. Hopkins later died at a hospital.
Hopkins was 33 years old. He was a 10-year veteran with ISP and was married with three children. He had three sisters and two brothers, and one of his brothers served in another police department in Illinois.
Grant was originally charged with eight counts, but as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges for possessing and using a firearm during a federal drug crime. The plea didn’t change the statutory penalties he would face.
A second suspect pleaded guilty in February this year to armed violence, obstructing justice and possession with intent to distribute cannabis in connection with the same deadly incident.