A Missouri man who walked into a Walmart with a loaded rifle and handgun while wearing body armor just days after a massacre at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart said he was simply testing whether the store would honor his Second Amendment rights, according to the Associated Press.
Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, caused a panic at Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, when he entered the store openly carrying the guns and recording himself on his phone. He was stopped by an off-duty firefighter who was also armed.
“I wanted to know if Walmart honored the Second Amendment,” Andreychenko reportedly said, according to a probable cause statement. Andreychenko was charged with making a terroristic threat.
Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson compared the act to “falsely shouting fire in a theater causing a panic,” but there is some doubt about whether Andreychenko actually committed a crime.
Andreychenko allegedly told his wife and sister beforehand what he was intending to do, asking them if they would come with him to record him walking through the store. Both declined and say they told him it was a bad idea.
It is legal in Springfield, Missouri, for him to openly carry the weapons, and to wear the body armor publicly. There is no evidence at this time that Andreychenko ever pointed the guns at anyone. The rifle had a loaded magazine inserted, but no round in the chamber. The handgun on his hip had one round in the chamber.
Despite the panicked reaction by customers due to heightened anxieties from recent shootings and the clearly threatening appearance the rifle and armor gave off, there is no indication that Andreychenko did anything but get a shopping cart and walk through the store before he was stopped. He said he intended to purchase grocery bags at the store.
So, while Andreychenko’s actions could easily be described as reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous (what would have happened if the off-duty firefighter, believing he was confronting a legitimate public safety threat, had shot and killed him?) the question remains whether he will ultimately be convicted of anything.
“Missouri protects the right of people to open carry a firearm, but that does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens,” Patterson said, according to AP.
Andreychenko faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of making a terroristic threat.