A man who is accused of terrifying customers by wielding a rifle in a Walmart store in Missouri was “testing his Second Amendment Rights”.
Suspect Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, sent shoppers fleeing to safety after sparking panic when he entered the store, clad in body armour and military style clothes, according to witnesses.
He also had another gun and ammunition and was “making comments” to shoppers as they tried to escape the “chaotic” scene.
Andreychenko was stopped by a hero firefighter who held him at gunpoint and detained him outside the store until police arrived, authorities said.
He reportedly said in a statement that he wanted to see whether the Walmart “honoured the Second Amendment”.
Missouri is an open-carry state which means state law allows gun owners to openly carry firearms.
Although no shots were fired, prosecutor Dan Patterson said that right “does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens”.
The false alarm occurred just days after a gunman walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and opened fire, killing 22 people.
Hours later, in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman fatally shot nine people in a popular nightlife district.
Andreychenko, who is a married father-to-be, is facing a terrorist threat charge for the incident and could be facing four years in prison.
On the afternoon of the threat, Andreychenko started recording himself with his smartphone while still in the parking lot of the Springfield Walmart on Thursday.
He took body armour from the trunk of his car and wheeled a shopping trolley into the store, according to a probable cause statement seen by Fox News.
When the manager pulled the fire alarm, the suspect escaped out of an emergency exit where the armed off-duty firefighter stopped him until police arrived.
The statement revealed that he bought the rifle and the armour because of the recent shootings and and wanted to protect himself.
Prosecutor Patterson, however, compared his actions to ‘falsely shouting fire in a theatre, causing a panic.’
Shopper Julie Belew, told the Springfield News-leader that she was on the way into the store when she heard the commotion.
She said she heard a man shouting at Andreychenko, “Why are you walking around in a tactical jacket carrying a rifle?”
He did not seem surprised. He did not seem angry. He looked like he had accomplished whatever he wanted to accomplish,’ she said.
Lieutenant Mike Lucas, who arrived at the scene whilst he was being detained by the firefighter, said that his intent was “obviously to cause chaos”, which he did.
officers would be interviewing the suspect at the jail on Thursday to try to learn more about his motivations.
It was a ‘really scary, dangerous situation,’ police at the scene told local news, adding that they would investigate the man’s social media accounts to try to determine if a threat was intended or if he was live-streaming.
On an Instagram accounts for Andreychenko, who attends Connect Church in Springfield, he states: ‘Love my God, Love my wife, Love my guns’ and shows him practicing firing.
Walmart issued a statement saying that the man’s behar inside the store was ‘concerning’.