Police in Springfield, Mo., arrested a 20-year-old man wearing body armor and carrying a loaded rifle — and more than 100 rounds of ammunition — at a Walmart store Thursday. Formal charges of making a terrorist threat in the first degree are now pending against Dmitriy Andreychenko, police say.
Officers had rushed to the Walmart Neighborhood Market, responding to calls of a potential shooter at the store. Afterwards, police said they believe Andreychenko didn't want to kill anyone; instead, he wanted to cause chaos.
"His intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here," Springfield Police Lt. Mike Lucas told journalists at the scene. "In fact, he's lucky he's alive still, to be honest."
Andreychenko seems to have been making a video of himself as he walked around the store. According to local TV station KY3, "Witnesses say he grabbed a cart and began pushing it around the store. Police say the man was recording himself walking through the store via a cellphone."
Less than a week after a gunman launched a deadly assault on a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the sudden appearance of a man wearing military-style clothing and carrying a tactical rifle set off a panic at the Walmart store in Springfield.
Store employees pulled the fire alarm and shouted for people to flee. As they did, Andreychenko followed them outside.
In the parking lot, Andreychenko was detained at the scene by an off-duty firefighter who was armed and held the man at gunpoint until police arrived, according to the Springfield Police Department. He was arrested without incident, and no injuries have been reported.
His arrest was captured on video. Witness Julie Belew filmed him from inside her car. The footage shows the young man walking down a grassy embankment, his hands over his head. Off camera, the firefighter can be heard reporting the incident to emergency dispatchers.
"Don't touch that rifle," a man commands Andreychenko as he heads down the hill, still holding his cellphone.
Andreychenko obeyed instructions to kneel and turn around — apparently revealing that he also had a handgun in his waistband. Police arrived within minutes to take him into custody.
Missouri is an open-carry state. But its laws do prohibit gun owners from displaying their weapons in a threatening way.
For instance, even someone who holds a valid conceal-carry endorsement and is openly carrying a gun can run afoul of the law "if the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense."
Andreychenko is currently being held at the Greene County jail.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.