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East St. Louis man sentenced for gun crimes after raid that let to killing of Illinois trooper

East St. Louis man sentenced for gun crimes after raid that let to killing of Illinois trooper

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Trooper Nicholas Hopkins

Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins was shot executing a search warrant in 2019. Photo provided by Illinois State Police

EAST ST. LOUIS — A man caught with a pistol after the fatal shooting last year of Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins was sentenced Thursday to four years and three months in prison.

Al D. Stewart Jr., 21, was the next-door neighbor of the man charged with shooting Hopkins on Aug. 23, 2019.

Man admits federal gun crime connected to the death of Illinois trooper

Al Stewart Jr., 19, was charged in connection to a raid that led to the death of Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins in 2019. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to a charge of being an unlawful user of controlled substance in possession of a firearm.

Hopkins was shot in the head while he and others were trying to serve a “no-knock” search warrant on Stewart's neighbor, Christopher R. Grant, during an investigation of crack cocaine and marijuana sales at Grant's side of the duplex at 1426 North 42nd Street in East St. Louis. 

Stewart had a .40 caliber Glock pistol in a kitchen cabinet, his plea says. Stewart and Grant, who had come through an attic connection into Stewart's side of the duplex, surrendered about 30 minutes after the shooting.

Christopher Grant

Christopher R. Grant was charged in August 2019 with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an Illinois state trooper. He was also faces federal charges including use of a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Stewart pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to a charge of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. 

Grant has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in St. Clair County Circuit Court and faces gun and drug charges in federal court.

Hopkins was married and the father of three young children. He was the first Illinois State Police trooper to be fatally shot in 30 years.

Robert Patrick • 314-340-8131

@rxpatrick on Twitter

RPatrick@post-dispatch.com

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