Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Woman shot to death in apartment

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE - A 22-year-old woman was shot to death by the father of two of her children about noon Monday as two acquaintances watched, police say.

Michael Hopkins, 20, of 6000 block of Celtic Ash Drive, has been charged with murder.

Florence police said Hopkins fatally shot Crystal Smith, who lived in the same apartment building. She was pronounced dead at St. Luke Hospital West in Florence. Hopkins and two other adults - a man and a woman, whom police did not identify - were inside Smith's apartment when she returned home Monday morning, Florence Police Spokesman Lt. Tim Chesser said. The man and woman witnessed the shooting, then the woman called 911 from inside the apartment.

Hopkins and Smith had two children together, Chesser said. Police said there are no court records that indicate prior domestic violence.

Detectives used a police dog and witnesses to locate Hopkins inside a nearby home in the 7200 block of Assac Lane. A young man answering the door at that home Monday said he would not have let Hopkins in had he known his friend was a suspect in a shooting.

"I told him to `get out' when I looked outside, saw all these police and ... what was happening," said the man, who would not identify himself.

Residents of the Greens of Turfway, the complex where the shooting took place, watched as police recovered two small-caliber handguns from a large trash bin across from Smith's apartment.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com

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