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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 9, 2021

Christopher Grant Convicted in Federal Court for the Murder of Illinois State Trooper Nicholas Hopkins

FAIRVIEW  HEIGHTS,  Ill.  –  Christopher  R.  Grant,  47,  of  East  St.  Louis,  Illinois,  faces  
the possibility of life without parole following his guilty plea earlier today to a series of 
federal charges in connection with the 2019 murder of Illinois State Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Tpr. 
Hopkins, 33, was killed in the line of duty while attempting to execute a state search warrant at 
Grant’s house in East St. Louis.

Appearing in federal district court today, Grant pled guilty to 6 federal crimes, including using a 
firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“From the first hours of this investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has pledged to vigorously 
pursue  justice  for  Trooper  Hopkins  and  his  family,”  said  U.S.  Attorney  Steven  D.  
Weinhoeft. “Today’s conviction is an important step toward keeping that solemn promise. Our 
thoughts and prayers remain with his family, and we will continue our work to honor his sacrifice.”

On March 18, 2020, a federal grand jury returned an 8-count indictment against Grant, charging him 
with distributing crack cocaine (3 counts), maintaining a drug house, possession of a firearm by a 
convicted felon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, use of a 
firearm  in  furtherance  of  a  drug  trafficking  crime,  and  use  of  a  firearm  to  commit  
murder  in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges for possessing and using a firearm during a federal drug 
crime after Grant pleaded guilty to murder, although the dismissal of those lesser counts does not 
change the statutory penalties Grant faces.

Leading up to the murder, an  Illinois State Police investigation showed that Grant was selling 
marijuana  and  crack  cocaine  from  his  home  on  North  42ⁿᵈ  Street,  in  East  St.  Louis.  
Officers conducted a series of  controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Grant and obtained a 
search warrant to search his house. The ISP SWAT Team was called in to help execute the warrant 
after it was learned that Grant had a cache of weapons inside.

On the morning of Aug. 23, 2019, Tpr. Hopkins and two other SWAT Team members went onto
Grant’s porch to connect chains from the front hooks of a police Ford F350 to a set of steel bars

protecting the front door. Officers were preparing to forcibly remove the steel bars from the door
frame so they could enter through the front door.

Grant later told officers that he was sleeping on the couch in the living room close to the front 
door when the activity on the porch woke him up. Grant claimed that he suspected someone was there 
to rob him, as he had been robbed of cash and drugs roughly two weeks earlier. As part of his 
guilty plea, he admitted that he had been sleeping on a .9 mm handgun and that he fired the gun 
three times towards whoever was on his porch.

Tpr. Hopkins had just finished connecting the chain to the steel bars on the front of the house and 
was turning to walk back down the steps when one of Grant’s gunshots passed through the wooden door 
and struck him in the head, entering through his right temple. Officers returned directed fire as 
other ISP SWAT Team members rushed to Hopkins’ rescue. He was transported to St. Louis University 
Hospital, but all life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. on 
Aug. 23, 2019.

A later search of the house recovered 8 firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, and 
five handguns. Grant’s DNA was found on the murder weapon: a Glock Model 19, 9 mm pistol.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2021. Using a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug 
trafficking crime is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison. Chief United States 
District  Judge  Nancy  J.  Rosenstengel  will  determine  the  sentence  after  considering  the  
U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is being investigated by the Illinois State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, 
Firearms & Explosives. U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali M.
Summers are prosecuting the case.
 

Updated July 9, 2021