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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  • Will

    This is just a case of a racist White man who saw a couple of Black men and automatically assumed
    criminal. I am a native West Virginian but I am glad I no longer live there.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Was he wearing his "I'm the NRA" t-shirt?

  • Felicia

    I agree with slot of you on here, I think this man was a racist and I think the families of his victims shouldn't have to pay Tax Dollars to keep this MURDER in jail until he dies of either natural causes or spend years using medical services that these victims families are helping to pay for I think in this case they should deffantly bring back THE DEATH PENEALTY.... Eye for an eye!!!!!!

  • Doug M

    A crazy old man shooting at two men he percieved to be thieves and or trespassing. He will file the insanity plea and walk.

  • me

    Wow! this man is a idiot! I have my C.C. but this man had no right to shoot these two men. 2nd man did not run so he shot him? Really? This man deserves everything he gets!

  • Otis T

    Err, West Virginia's got like 70,000 blacks out of approx. 1,700,000, and the two people killed so tragically like this, just happens to be black.Yeah, I have no doubt race was a factor. Whites will rather cling to the insanity hypothesis whether than acknowledge the obvious.

    • I'm honest at least

      Don't see exactly how this crime is race driven.....Some wish to keep the race issue going and say it is to keep the fire going...I am not racist. I do however realize all people have to put it to rest. That means the story should go two men were shot and killed by another man due to a property dispute. Skin color should not even be mentioned. Some people are just waiting for anything to bring race up....on a side note I feel affirmative action programs are racist to white folks. As long as any race keeps the race issue going racist issues will never get better.

      • Otis T

        Really? When was the last time you've heard of a white person (in this case two people were killed) being shot to death by a homeowner when the victims weren't even making any attempt to do the person harm? There have been numerous cases lately when blacks have been killed unjustifiably by trigger happy white homeowners. In situations like this, you can almost guarantee that the victim is going to be black and the shooter white without the races being mentioned. This episode should not be confused with a true home invasion involving a black intruder. Blacks, overwhelmingly would not hold it against a white from defending themselves in those situations.

        • I'm honest at least

          This is stupid no matter what color you are. But to call this a hate crime without stone Cold proof is racist in its self. I'm saying flat out playing the victim will make sure the cycle continues. If this turns out a hate crime then I'm wrong and I'll say I'm wrong this time. I think this guy would have fired if they were any race.

  • Dean Weingarten

    Where is the "racist" angle?

    It appears to be a white on white shooting.

  • Mike

    NRA, race, what does any of this have to do with a crazy pos pulling the trigger?? Only a person that is mental would do something like this. I'm an NRA member going on 25 years now and don't recall them telling me to shoot someone with a high powered rifle on the next block. Hell I have permits for conceal carry and own about every gun you can think of and never recall anyone in conceal carry classes telling me to shoot the guy on the next lot over... Give me a break. He is a wack job that when it all comes out should have been locked away for being insane but the weak system in place let him remain free. I bet that someone knew he was mentally unstable but it got over looked. Blame that once in a while.

    • Jon

      So presumably you agree that as a "wack job" who "should have been locked away", there ought to have been no way for him to legally own a firearm, too, right?

    • John

      Very well put, Mike.

      • thornton

        The point re the NRA is that they willingly use and adopt a tragic armed encounter incident when it profits them...and remain silent when the profit in an armed encounter is not there...disingenuous is the word.

  • jay ziehm

    its time for the legislature to instate the death penalty not only for a case like this but for cases down the road. sounds like he just shot these men for grins. if we had a death penalty 60 days for appeal then burn them. better yet when the jury pronounces them guilty the judge pulls out a 357 magnum shoots him or her between the eyes and says next case.. when the people who protest against the death penalty across the nation when an execution is at hand ask them if they would be here if the victim in the case was their son or daughter or another member of their immediate family. doubt it.

    • Duke

      West Virginia definitely needs the death penalty and there are plenty of murderers deserving of it.

  • Brett

    This is just an example of horrible judgment and decision making and now two innocent people have lost their lives for his ignorance. Since his parents actually owned the lot next door, it is possible the shed and contents in it was actually Mr. Blacks and were illegally on someone else's property since the lot was sold. Sad situation. I feel sorry for the victim's family. Prayers for the Hopkins family.

    • Cindy

      In another article that I read, it said that the outbuilding was on the property of the men who were shot.


    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.