Dmitriy Andreychenk entered a Missouri Walmart wearing body armor and equipped with a rifle and a handgun less than one week after the tragedy in El Paso, Texas, where an armed gunman killed 22 people in another Walmart. Dmitriy says that the incident was nothing but a “social experiment” and that he didn’t intend to cause a panic.
According to a probable cause statement, Dmitriy told Springfield police that he “wanted to know if that Walmart honored the 2nd amendment.”
20-year-old Andreychenko recorded himself entering the store with a shopping cart, explaining that he wanted to buy some grocery bags.
He says he didn’t intend to get negative reactions. The recording was made in case people stopped him and asked him to leave the store, according to a statement.
He was warned by both his wife and sister that his plan wasn’t a smart one, especially given the recent shootings in Dayton and El Paso.
He reportedly told his sister that his plans were a “social experiment on how his 2nd amendment right would be respected in a public area”.
His rifle was loaded with a magazine but he didn’t have a round chambered. His handgun was loaded and had a round in the chamber, according to the probable cause document.
The police department issued a tweet saying that Dmitriy was facing charges of making a terrorist threat in the second degree. It is unknown if he was represented by an attorney or not.
Prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson released a statement saying that the consequences Andreychenko are not a reflection on how Missouri – which is an open-carry state – respects the second amendment.
“Missouri protects the right to open carry a firearm, but that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner, endangering other citizens,” Patterson said. “As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously explained, ‘the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man … falsely shouting fire in a theater causing a panic.’”
Police Lt. Mike Lucas says that Andreychenko had indeed caused a panic. He stated that his intention was clearly not to cause distress to anyone in the store. He added Andreychenko was lucky to be alive after the stunt.
Lucas said Andreychenko entered the store on Thursday afternoon. CNN affiliate KYTV reports that the store manager pulled the fire alarm when he saw Andreychenko to encourage customers to leave the store.
Andreychenko was detained by an off-duty firefighter until police arrived to take him into custody. The police say no one was injured and no shots were fired during the incident.
Lucas explained that the recent mass shootings in the United States in public places likely had customers on edge, and they were more likely to report active shooters to the police.