"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" John 14:1
IN MEMORY OF A FRIEND: Matthew Hopkins Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   

When Matt woke that Thursday morning in Texas many years ago, he was unaware of the short time remaining for him.  On July 22, 1993, he was 52 years old and in good health, but he was about to die.  He probably woke in the same high-spirited glee he was known for.  He often said "Great!" with a roar that would make Tony the Tiger jealous.


After Matt readied himself for work (a shower, maybe breakfast), it was still early morning (5:30) when he left his house in South Dallas.  He might have been thinking about his upcoming day as a file clerk at Immigration and Naturalization Services, where he was employed.  Or maybe he was thinking about later when he'd be eating the lunch that he was carrying in a plastic bag, or perhaps he was wondering just how hot it'd be that summer day.


But all of that faded into unimportance as he walked toward his car, on his way to toss a small bag of trash before driving to work.  It was there, just in front of his own house, that Matt encountered the last human he'd ever see on earth.  Whether it was seconds or minutes before the perpetrator fired the gun, we may never know.  But Matt soon died. 


The first bullet pierced his chest.  Then the second, and final bullet, struck Matt in his left eye, sending my friend flat on his back, his feet on the driveway, his body on the grass, his left hand still gripping the garbage bag.  Matt likely died before he ever hit the ground, the pavement and soil soaking up his warm blood, his sack lunch laying beside him.


On that sad day in July, my friend Matthew Hopkins took his last breath, dying in a place I had stood just a few days prior.  I first met Matt at Immigration and Naturalization Services where we shared a cubicle for about a year.  I was at his house the Saturday before he died; he had helped me change my brakes.  He had called me on Tuesday, two days shy of his murder.  Just before we hung up he said, "Don't be a stranger."  I had no idea that would be our last conversation.  But that is usually how death comes. 


To my knowledge, there were never any leads discovered or suspects found.  Over the years, I've sent his info to Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted.  At the 15-year point of his death, I wrote The Dallas Morning News hoping they would write a follow-up story.  As far as I know, none has pursued Matt's story. 


If you're a follower of Christ, please take a few seconds now to pray that Matt's murderer(s) be brought to justice soon.


(Posted August 2008)

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