A Missouri man who thought it was a good idea to dress up in a ballistics vest and carry a tactical rifle into a Springfield Walmart
days after a mass shooting in El Paso says his real mistake was timing.
Dmitriy Andreychenko tells Springfield news station KY3
he did not think through his plan.
"It was foolish," he tells the station. "I didn't give it a thought. It was so innocent that I didn't think this would happen."
Strangely enough, both Andreychenko's wife and sister told police they had warned him something bad would happen if he went through with what he described to his sister as a social experiment to test Walmart's tolerance. According to the police report, the wife told investigators Andreychenko had shown her an article about the El Paso shooing, and she told him that people would take him seriously if showed up armed to the local Walmart.
It turns out, she was right. On August 8, Andreychenko walked into the store in his vest with the rifle slung across his body and a semi-automatic handgun on his hip. The rifle had a loaded magazine. The handgun was also loaded, with a round in the chamber. He carried additional bullets in the vest — police counted about 100 rounds total.
He filmed the scene with his phone (his sister told police she declined to act as videographer) as he walked through the aisles. A store manager later told police he thought Andreychenko was there to shoot people. It was just five days after a 21-year-old white man wearing firing range ear muffs walked into the El Paso Walmart and slaughtered 22 people. Now, here was a twenty-year-old white guy in tactical gear, filming the store while a rifle dangled across his chest.
The manager had an employee pull the fire alarm and started evacuating the building of shoppers.
Andreychenko walked out with everyone else and was immediately confronted by armed shopper, who held him a gunpoint until police arrived.
"Praise God he was trained and that he was able to see that I wasn't threatening anyone and didn't shoot me," Andrecheynko tells KY3
. "So praise God for that."
He says he just wanted to test his Second Amendment rights. Missouri has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country, and Andreychenko says he researched Walmart's policies on open carry before showing up that day. He says his only regret is carrying out his plan so close to the El Paso killings.
But police and Greene County's prosecuting attorney say his rights as a gun owner don't allow him to terrify people.
"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," Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said in a statement after Andreychenko's arrest.
The twenty-year-old is now facing a charge of making terroristic threats, a felony. He posted $10,000 bail on Tuesday and was released from jail. KY3 reports that Andreychenko, who is a legal resident after immigrating from the Ukraine at age two, could be deported if convicted.
Springfield police say their investigation is ongoing, and they're asking anyone who was at Walmart that day but has not spoken to a detective to contact them.
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