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SC college student who researched mass shootings, stole 90 guns pleads guilty

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A Midlands Technical College student who was arrested in 2020 with more than 90 stolen high-value guns and used the internet to research mass shootings in Charleston and Texas pleaded guilty Monday to weapons-related violations.

Edward Daniel Kimpton Jr. pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Columbia.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Judge Joe Anderson accepted Kimpton’s guilty plea to charges of possession of stolen firearms and wire fraud. Numerous other charges against Kimpton will be dropped. Under a plea deal, the appropriate sentence should be between three and five years.

Kimpton has been in jail since his arrest in May 2020.

His time in jail will likely be subtracted from any prison term he gets. Kimpton could have received up to 10 years on the firearm charge and 20 years on the wire fraud charge.

Kimpton was arrested after an 18-month investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Secret Service, who received a tip in October 2018 “from a confidential source,” the complaint said.

Midlands Tech officials confirmed his enrollment at the time of his arrest.

The guns that were in Kimpton’s possession when he was arrested included five rifles that had been affixed with bump stocks. The guns included numerous high-end rifles, shotguns, pistols and other weapons — worth thousands of dollars each — used in military and police operations, a complaint in the case said.

Agents also found some $73,636 in cash.

A search of Kimpton’s computers showed he had used the internet to research the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, and what weapons the shooter, a 17-year-old student, had used when he fatally shot 10 people and injured 13, a complaint said.

When he was arrested, Kimpton was also in possession of 23,763 rounds of ammunition.

The ammo was found at his home and in a storage unit he rented, according to the complaint. Other items seized from him included body armor, canteens, knee pads, knives, tactical clothing, sniper scopes and loaded magazines.

Kimpton swindled gun sellers in a “sophisticated fraud scheme in which he has fraudulently obtained a high quantity of high value firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories and tactical equipment” from internet gun sale platforms, according to the complaint.

In that scheme, he used 15 different names and bought guns from seven states, including South Carolina, and used shipping destinations for guns in five different South Carolina counties, including Richland and Lexington, the complaint said.

Using online gun marketplace sites, such as eBay and, Kimpton first bought firearms, bullets, firearm scopes, tactical gear and related goods from individual and retail sellers across the country.

Kimpton paid for the items using electronic payment platforms, like PayPal, and had them shipped by mail to federal firearms license-holders in Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, Saluda and York counties as well as in the Charlotte area, the complaint said.

After picking up the guns, Kimpton would contest the sale with the internet platform, alleging that he never received the items. He was then reimbursed.

“The sellers are then left without their property or payment, and Kimpton retains both the property and the fraudulently reverted funds,” the complaint said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott Daniels is prosecuting the case.

Jonathan Harvey, Kimpton’s defense attorney, could not be reached.


(c) 2021 The State

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