Aug. 11 (UPI) — Police in Missouri said a heavily armed man who walked into a Walmart store days after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in Texas told police it was a “social experiment” to test his Second Amendment rights.
Springfield Police said in a probable cause statement against Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, that he told investigators he walked into the Springfield Walmart wearing body armor and carrying a handgun and rifle Thursday as a “social experiment,” and he had no intention of committing any violent acts at the store.
“I wanted to know if that Walmart honored the Second Amendment,” police quoted Andreychenko as telling officers.
Police said Andreychenko was recording himself with a cellphone when he entered the store Thursday, sparking a panic that led customers to flee the premises. Police said an off-duty firefighter detained the suspect until officers arrived to place him under arrest.
Investigators said Andreychenko’s rifle had a loaded magazine, but a round was not chambered. The handgun was loaded and did have a round in the chamber.
Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said Andreychenko is being charged with making a terrorist threat in the second degree.
The felony charge could result in a punishment of up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
“Missouri protects the right of people to open carry a firearm, but that does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens,” Patterson said in a statement. “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 theater causing a panic.'”
The incident occurred less than a week after a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 22 people.