Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Land O'Lakes man accused in shotgun death of roommate

A 19-year-old man is accused of fatally shooting his friend early Thursday in this house at 22709 Penny Loop, deputies said.


A 19-year-old man is accused of fatally shooting his friend early Thursday in this house at 22709 Penny Loop, deputies said.

LAND O'LAKES — Inside a blue house on Penny Loop, two young men who have been friends for years hosted a small party that stretched past midnight. James "Jamie" Hopkins, a thin 19-year-old with dark hair and fair skin, brought out a shotgun. He emptied the round, authorities said, and passed the gun around to the others at the party. When he got the gun back at about 12:20 a.m. Thursday, he joked around and put the barrel in the mouth of his roommate, Michael "Mikey" Dunkley, 20.

Hopkins didn't force the gun on Dunkley, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. Dunkley went along with the joke.

Hopkins pulled the trigger, believing it was still empty.

It wasn't.

Dunkley was dead.

"It's just an awful, awful tragedy," said Hopkins' mother Denice Moon, who had no idea where her son got the shotgun. "They were just stupid kids...

"My boy is devastated about it."

Hopkins was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said Hopkins "didn't intentionally try to kill his friend, but he's still responsible for his actions."

Tobin said someone must have placed the round back into the shotgun while it was being passed around at the party. Witnesses said the atmosphere was light — there was no malice, and Hopkins and Dunkley were just messing around, Tobin said. He said investigators are still looking to see if drugs or alcohol played a role in the shooting.

"You should never point a weapon at anyone," Tobin said, "and always assume a gun is loaded."

Hopkins denied an interview request Thursday from the St. Petersburg Times. This is his first arrest in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

No one at the house on Penny Loop wanted to talk about what happened.

Anthony Wright lives across the street and said the young men were good neighbors. They kept to themselves and didn't throw loud parties. Hopkins, who graduated from Wiregrass Ranch High School in 2009, works at Big Lots in Land O'Lakes, according to his Facebook page.

Wright said Dunkley, a 2008 graduate of Land O'Lakes High School, worked at Winn-Dixie and Beef O'Brady's. He said Dunkley lived in that house with his parents and sister for about 10 years — that he died in the house he grew up in. Dunkley's family was unable to be reached Thursday.

"I'm surprised Jamie got charged," Wright said. "I couldn't imagine killing your friend.

"That's hard enough to live with."

Hopkins was held at the Pasco County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Land O'Lakes man accused in shotgun death of roommate 11/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays relishing surprise status

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays on Friday played their first post-All-Star Game contest at Tropicana Field while holding a playoff spot since Sept. 23, 2013.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.