Photo courtesy WSAZ-TV
Garrick and Carl Hopkins were checking out property Garrick Hopkins had recently purchased when they were shot Saturday.

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas said the right to defend one’s life and property comes with circumstances that must always be called into question.

Such was the case with Rodney Black, 63, of Barboursville, who called 911 Saturday saying he had just shot two men trying to break into a building behind his home.


Rodney Black is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

“He said he saw people around his outbuilding, trying to break in,” McComas said. “He opened the window and shot the first one. The second one didn’t run so he shot him. He told the dispatcher he believed both had died.”

Killed were Garrick Hopkins, 60, of Milton, and his brother Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, of Oak Hill.  They were visiting the property Garrick recently bought with plans to build a new home.

“The lot next to (Black’s) was originally owned by his parents,” said McComas. “It had recently been sold to the Hopkins family. Mr. Hopkins and his brother had gone out there to basically survey the property.”

The building was a “pretty good distance” away from Black’s home, according to McComas, and contained nothing of any real value inside. At the time of the shootings, the outbuilding belonged to Hopkins and not to Black, who was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

“If you elect to use deadly force, you have to live with what you’ve done afterward,” McComas said. “These gentlemen were a good distance away from the house and the suspect was in his house behind locked doors.”

Black is held without bail at the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.

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    Just a ignorant racist who need's to be dealt with accordingly.

  • griff

    Like I have said many times before, West Virginia needs to reinstate the Death Penalty. This case, apparently is nothing but cold blooded murder

  • steve

    Simply put-not justified. Castle law does not cover this

  • thornton

    Yes...excuse my "e".

    The other point here is the part the enablers may have played. Those at a gun range that talked up all things "defense" that might well not have allowed an ill or lonely individual to permit reality to enter his decisions.

    Or, the TV shows with young guys preaching about know, the ones who wear sunglasses in the shade and try to look tough. Or, the NRA talking heads who may have been heard by some challenged folks to claim Rights trump all.

    Enablers exist whether they realize it or not...someone could be listening that is not able to separate Rhetoric from Reality...then, tragadies may result.

    Enablers should be so ashamed and consider a bit when next they play loudly to the choir around them.

    • Brian

      This is absolutely asinine. The guy is a cold-blooded, racist, cowardly, murdering THUG, and all the blame in this situation belongs to him and him alone.
      If you insist on calling out an enabler, though, look at the zimmerman jury in Florida. That awful verdict and the popular approval thereof may serve to embolden racist, scumbag thugs like rodney black to think they will be able to get away with murdering black folks.

  • larry

    hey thortnton just a "d" is needed not "ed" after scope……

    • thornton

      I see my apology for the added "e" and a comment on the enablers in cases like this was not printed as a response.

      More sad that....being afraid to realize an effect from tooting some rhetoric as is often tooted can lead to more tragedies. Perhaps it was inconvenient to admit.

      • thornton

        Now isn't that just appeared after my latest comment. 1+1=

        • thornton

          Poof, now, it's gone.
          Kinda, sorta like the Mothman.

  • thornton

    Other than the blind toads whining over the mention of the note of the rifle itself or the word scope lacking an "ed" in the report, the NRA-types have been not so strangely silent....once the particulars of the incident were revealed.

    More widespread condemnation of the tragedy here and in the need for the mentally ill to have limits set on firearm access would go farther to believing that the NRA agenda has limits cemented in reality....even in their minds.

    I kinda reckon that they know of this incident....they would be loudly tooting if their agenda was supported by the killing of the two that.

    If particulars remain as indicated, the killer should remain away in some form of institution...that second shot taken indicates far more than a trigger pull.

    • Jason412

      I too noticed the silence from the NRA fanatics.

      I do wonder how this would of played in court if the shed had still been owned by Mr. Black and the men were burglars. Since it wasn't his house I'm not sure if they would try to use the Castle Doctrine or the Stand Your Ground Law . But with all the media attention around the Stand Your Ground law people are starting to convince themselves it's ok to shoot first and question it later. Regardless of if they feel their life is in danger or not.

      While I'm not completely against the law and recognize it has saved lives, it does need some changes. When you have incidents like this

      "In January, a judge in Miami tossed out a second-degree murder charge against Greyston Garcia after he chased a suspected burglar for more than a block and stabbed him to death. The judge decided the stabbing was justified because the burglar had swung a bag of stolen car radios at Garcia – an object that a medical examiner at a hearing testified could cause “serious harm or death.” The judge found Garcia was “well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property.”

      Or an incident like when the guy was selling weed, got ripped off by some guys in a SUV, the SUV tried to flee, and the guy shoots up the back of the SUV killing a 15 year old but was somehow cleared under "Stand Your Ground" which makes absolutely no sense because as far as I know it's illegal in every state to be in possession of illegal drugs and a firearm at the same time, especially in the furtherance of drug trafficking.

      I think the law needs to be more limited as to acceptable circumstances or at least more enforced when the circumstances are unacceptable, such as chasing someone down to kill them. To me, if you have to chase someone you're not in imminent danger.

      Also, just as a question to the religious folk of metronews and this is not meant to be hateful in any sort of way, but I noticed a lot of the people yesterday talking of how they wouldn't of hesitated to kill someone breaking into their shed. Wouldn't that be one of the worst sins you could commit? Just seems like killing someone when you're life isn't in any danger would be just as much of a sin as killing someone for no reason.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Jason, I sure would like to take a look inside that house of his and see if he had stack upon stack of "GunNut Journal".

        I wonder how many "I'm the NRA" t-shirts this dude had. I use to be a member years ago but came to my senses and left it when they stopped being so much about conservation and more about their insistence on buying "cop-killer" rounds. Charlton Heston holding a musket reminiscent of Moses and proclaiming "from my dead hands" was an embarrassment.

        They're better off without me, and I'm sure better off without them.

      • TheFungoKnows

        Jason420: A liberal lemming from the lunatic left.

      • here we go

        Jason412, stealing is a sin too. A sin is a sin. Everyone sins, just differently. Back in the day, thieving would get you killed by law. The laws have changed and so hasn't the crime rate along with the thieving epidemic. Apparently, some feel that thieving is acceptable. Well, they can just have their sh*t stolen then!!

  • Robbyn

    If Mr. Black truly thought the Hopkins were breaking into the building, he should have just called 911 & watched them. There was no reason to shoot them at all.

  • Diane

    Even if it had been the man's building, what kind of property would a person have in there that would be worth 2 lives? 3 lives really because this man will die in jail. Somewhere along the line reason has to come in to play. It seems there is no value placed on the life of others any more.

    • Randy

      Personally I wouldn't feel too sorry for a couple of thieves. BUT these guys weren't! Very tragic. It might be some time until it is known why this man shot two innocent people. At a minimum-a terrible mistake. I feel that crazy nates comments are some of the stupidest I have ever seen. He griped about pill-bellies. About as much as he felt (low rent) people should be shot. I would love to hear his explanation how someone with a low income deserves death and is the same as an abuser of drugs.

  • JohnR

    Of course its race! Two African-American men shot because a white racist seems to think they are trying to break into building. Total BS! This piece of WV trash will rot in you know where!

    • Hillbilly

      Don't worry - Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will get wind of this and start something yet..

      • Kenneth Hunter

        Blacks don't have one or two leaders. Many of our leaders come from the white community. Again, not all blacks think the same and react the same. I certainly don't judge the actions of Justin Bieber to someone like yourself; simply stupid to believe so. It's stupid to assume everyone in West Virginia and white are racist. Your comments are not original and shows how uneducated you are. You certainly don't speak for all white people.

    • I'm honest at least

      Here we go with the racist thing. Sounds more like crazy than a race issue.

      • J.R. Skene

        And how is racism not inherently crazy as a thought process?

        • I'm honest at least

          I wouldn't argue that with you but at the same time everytime a crime is white vs black people start screaming its a race thing.. I actually consider jumping to that conclusion racist. If someone testifies that he stated he would target these two black gentlemen for skin color then its a hate crime. On either level its none the more ridiculous.

          • Kenneth Hunter

            I apologize. My response was not intended to create an argument. I truly wish people could treat one another with common decency, even in a forum like this. At this point in America, there is no room for incidents like this. I don't enjoy giving my opinion, other than treat others with respect. Why not a warning shot? Wasn't that a possibility?

          • I'm honest at least

            Read closer Kenneth I said people you added black not me .

          • Kenneth Hunter

            Should I assume you are racist when you say blacks assume race before anything else? I get your point, but not all blacks think the same. Everyone please be careful when applying the race issue. It makes things difficult to distinguish between the cases where race (hatred) is truly an issue and the those where people are simply insane. Let's wait for more details and charges before jumping to a conclusion.

  • pt

    Shot 2 guys for looking at their own property. Rot in jail, you POS. You are what's wrong with this world!

  • leroy j gibbs

    What a fool .this man stole 2 lives. Pray for these men's families

  • Mountain Man

    I support stand your ground.......but this was way out of line. He should pay for his tragic mistake.

    • cb

      Yeah, stand your ground would never ever ever apply to this case. Even if this was Florida, they were in no way a danger to him. Even if that was his building and they were going through it they meant no harm.

      This guy, well he shot two innocent guys, investigating their own property. He stood no ground.

  • Fairport

    This man was just ready and willing to finally use the Stand Your Ground defense!

  • Low Rider

    Rodney…you will be convicted and die in prison. Good decision.

  • Helen P.

    Not pulling the race card here, but is that a possibility? How was the property sold? (reasons why he didn't know the lot had been sold) Was it a tax lien sale? Maybe some bitterness there. No cause to shoot the men. This is tragic.

    • Patti

      In another article I read, it said that this property had previously been owned by his parents. When they died, Black received the residence in which he lived and the part of the property on which the residence was located. His sister, who had the authority to do so, sold off the rest of the property to pay their mother's bills. According to the sister, Black did not approve of the sale but he knew about it and knew that the building and property on which the other two men stood had been sold.

      • Kenneth Hunter

        Thank you for the information Patti.

    • wvtd

      then why are you? two HUMAN beings are dead and who cares what color they are? now you think racism is the cause? maybe mental illness was but I guess that does not get anyone stirred up.

      • Patti

        In a world where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, then no one would care what color they are. But in this country, racism is alive and well and to not mention it would be to pretend to be blind.