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Press Release

Columbia Man Who Threatened the Use of a Firearm During a Social Media Livestream Sentenced to 51 Months in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Columbia, SOUTH CAROLINA — Paul Burton, 27, of Columbia, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.

Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that on February 15, 2022, around 12:30am, Burton posted a livestream video on social media at a Columbia gas station. In the video, Burton bragged about successfully robbing a rival gang member of a gold chain, which he displayed. Additional portions of the livestream show Burton going into the gas station and threatening the rival gang member a second time by displaying the firearm and spitting in his direction in the presence of the store clerk.

Later that same day, the City of Columbia Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a car driven by Burton. Because the car smelled of marijuana, police officers conducted a search and found a loaded pistol. On February 16, 2022, members of the Midlands Gang Task Force interviewed Burton, and he admitted the same pistol in his car was the one he used during the robbery at the gas station.

Federal law prohibits Burton from possessing a firearm or ammunition based on prior convictions for Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Violent Crime, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Burton to 51 months in prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case was investigated by the City of Columbia Police Department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lamar J. Fyall is prosecuting the case.



Brook Andrews, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated April 17, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime