Guilty plea in Hopkins death

One of two men charged in the 2019 fatal shooting of Illinois State Police Trooper Nicholas Hopkins of Waterloo changed his plea from not guilty to guilty, the St. Clair County state’s attorney’s office said.

Al Stewart Jr., 21, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to armed violence, obstructing justice and possession with intent to distribute cannabis in the Aug. 23, 2019 incident in East St. Louis.

Hopkins, 33, was shot during an exchange of gunfire while serving a warrant. He died later at a St. Louis hospital. Investigators determined that while Stewart was in possession of a handgun, he wasn’t the shooter.

Stewart’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 23.

Christopher R. Grant has been charged with murder in Hopkins’ death and is awaiting trial. Grant and Stewart engaged in a standoff with police before surrendering.

Grant was indicted on federal charges in March 2020, including first-degree murder, maintaining a drug house, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.

Stewart pleaded guilty to federal gun charges related to the standoff. He was sentenced to four years in prison to serve concurrently with any sentence imposed in state court.

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