Crime & Courts

Woman charged with giving Hesston shooter guns pleads not guilty

Sarah Jo Hopkins has been charged with providing the guns used by Cedric Ford in the Hesston shootings.
Sarah Jo Hopkins has been charged with providing the guns used by Cedric Ford in the Hesston shootings. Sedgwick County Jail

The woman charged with giving Cedric Ford the guns used to kill three co-workers and wound 14 others during a shooting spree in Hesston last month has pleaded not guilty.

Sarah Jo Hopkins, 28, faces one count of transferring weapons to a prohibited person. At her arraignment Wednesday afternoon in federal court, she waived a formal reading of the charge by a judge and denied the allegations, according to a court record documenting her appearance. Her next hearing date was not immediately set.

Hopkins, Ford’s former girlfriend and the mother of his two children, was charged Feb. 26 with giving him the assault rifle and a handgun he used in the Feb. 25 shooting, knowing his felony convictions out of Florida barred him from possessing them. Harvey County authorities say Ford, 38, opened fire at Excel Industries, where he worked as a painter, after he was served with court papers from a woman seeking a protection order. He was shot and killed by Hesston’s police chief.

Hopkins bought and was the registered owner of both guns but claims she gave Ford the weapons because he threatened her. She is free on bond while awaiting adjudication of her case.

Survivors, victims' families and law enforcement tell of the deadly mass shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas on Feb. 25, 2016. Video by John Albert/The Wichita Eagle

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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