SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A 20-year-old faces charges for making terroristic threats after walking into a Walmart store in Springfield, Missouri wearing body armor and carrying a firearm and ammunition.
Dimitriy N. Andreychenko is currently in the Greene County Jail and being held on a $10,000 bond.
Making a terrorist threat in the second degree is a felony and is punishable by up to four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections with a fine of up to $10,000.
“Missouri protects the right of people to open carry a firearm, but that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously explained, ‘the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre causing a panic,’” wrote Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson.
Investigators say Andreychenko went to the Walmart on W. Republic Road around 4:30 p.m. He was carrying a rifle, about 100 rounds of ammunition, and recording video on his cellphone while walking around the store.
A manager at the Walmart pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the store. A former firefighter confronted Andreychenko and held the 20-year-old at gunpoint until Springfield police arrived.
A police spokesperson said investigators are working to determine Andreychenko’s motives.
“His intent was not to cause peace or comfort … He’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest,” said Lt. Mike Lucas, Springfield Police Department.
“I wanted to know if Walmart honored the Second Amendment,” a probable cause statement released Friday with the charges quoted Andreychenko as saying.
Andreychenko started to record himself with his phone while he was still in the car parked at Walmart. He got the body armor from the trunk of his car and put it on before grabbing a shopping cart and walking into the store, according to the statement.
Andreychenko said his intention was to buy grocery bags. The rifle had a loaded magazine inserted, but a round was not chambered. A handgun on his right hip was loaded with one round in the chamber.
He said he bought the rifle and body armor because of three recent shootings and a stabbing, and said he wanted to protect himself.
His wife, Angelice Andreychenko, told investigators that she warned him it was not a good idea, adding that he was an immature boy.
His sister, Anastasia Andreychenko, said he had asked her if she would videotape him going into Walmart with a gun and she also told him it was a bad idea, according to the probable cause statement.
The statement does not allege that he pointed the weapons at anyone, although patrons in the surveillance video could be seen in the background running away.
Walmart issued a statement Friday that praised authorities for stopping the incident from escalating. It said Andreychenko is no longer welcome in its stores.
“This was a reckless act designed to scare people, disrupt our business and it put our associates and customers at risk,” said spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins. “We applaud the quick actions of our associates to evacuate customers from our store, and we’re thankful no one was injured.”
Since January 2017, Missouri has not required a permit to openly or conceal carry a firearm for those 19 years or older. Roughly 30 states allow the open carrying of handguns and rifles and shotguns in public without a permit.
San Francisco-based Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said six states generally prohibit the open carrying of rifles and shotguns — California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey — along with the District of Columbia, the law center said.
California, Florida and Illinois also generally ban the open carry of handguns, as do New York and South Carolina.
Springfield is about 165 miles (266 kilometers) south of Kansas City, Missouri.