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Former UK student’s weapon possession charges reduced

Timothy Umstead’s mugshot from the Fayette County jail website on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Umstead was arrested on the night of Feb. 7, and he was booked on Feb. 8.

This story has been updated as of Feb. 19, 2024.

A former University of Kentucky student appeared in court today after allegedly making threats to his roommates on Feb. 7, 2024. His charges were amended to three counts of wanton endangerment of the second degree.

Timothy Umstead, 19, was arrested at 209 University Ave. for possession of multiple weapons, including explosives, a hollowed hand-grenade, homemade “rocketfuel,” a flamethrower, two shotguns, a handgun and additional items in the house.

Officer C. Beard was dispatched to the listed address at 6:11 p.m. in response to a complaint made by a roommate, according to Lexington Police Lieutenant Meredith Taylor.

Taylor said the roommate had filed a police report after feeling unsafe to go into the house to obtain her belongings and that Umstead had been acting suspiciously. The police report states the roommate had an altercation with Umstead earlier that day.

Once Beard arrived on the scene, the report said he entered the house with the roommate who filed the report and was told that Umstead recently purchased a firearm and “been bragging to her about building explosives.” 

The report said the roommate showed Beard to the basement where Umstead’s explosive materials were being held, including a jar later identified as a mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar labeled “Explosives. Do not eat.” 

Taylor said beside the jar was an empty hand grenade, brake fluid and disposable igniters located in “plain view” to which Beard notified his supervisor. The supervising officer then notified the hazardous duty team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives based on the severity of the belongings.

After Umstead arrived at the address, he was immediately detained and admitted to having multiple firearms, according to Taylor. A search warrant was presented at 9:30 p.m. during which the mason jar mixture of “rocketfuel,” two manufactured shotguns, a manufactured flamethrower and additional belongings were seized.

He said he had the materials “to make fireworks” and that “they make very beautiful, purple flames once lit.”

Umstead lives with three additional roommates and said the explosive materials were in his bedroom closet, but his roommates requested them to be moved into the basement. He said he had not made fireworks before at this house. 

Umstead said he also had other fireworks, such as sparklers and firecrackers, and had purchased the hand grenade at an army surplus store that was “dearmed, hollowed out and has a hole in the bottom so it never could be used again.” 

Judge Denotra Gunther said these materials were “not common” to have and being left unattended with the possibility of being set off by anything identifies it as wanton endangerment.

Umstead pled guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment of the second degree and set to one year of unsupervised probation on Monday, Feb. 12.

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Hannah Stanley
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  • B

    BeavoFeb 16, 2024 at 6:16 am

    Nahhh keep that unstable aspiring serial-killer locked up. Fireworks my ass!

    • R

      RobertFeb 21, 2024 at 7:42 am

      Should’ve known him in high school, we’re not surprised