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

Judge in the courtroom. Male judge striking the gavel.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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