SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A man who walked into a Missouri Walmartwearing body armor and carrying loaded weapons acknowledges the timing was bad but said he didn’t intend to hurt anyone and doesn’t regret his actions.
Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, is charged with making a terrorist threat after the Aug. 8 incident at a Walmart in Springfield. He filmed himself walking through the store with the weapons, prompting shoppers and employees to flee.
No shots were fired before off-duty firefighter held Andreychenko at gunpoint until police arrived and arrested him. Andreychenko said in a probable cause statement that he was testing whether Walmart would protect his right to openly carry weapons.
The incident came just days after 22 people were killed during an attack at another Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Andreychenko, who is free on bond and facing a felony charge of making a terrorist threat, told KYTV he never intended to hurt anyone and was surprised by the reaction.
“It was foolish, I didn’t give it thought. It was so innocent that I didn’t even think this would happen,” he said.
Andreychenko said he talked to a Walmart manager before he arrived at the store and was told he was allowed to openly carry a weapon in the store.
Since January 2017, Missouri has not required a permit to openly or conceal carry a firearm for those 19 years or older.
Walmart said in a statement that it allows concealed and open carry in stores if it is legal in the jurisdictions where the stores are located. Customers who are uncomfortable should contact a manager, the statement said.
In an earlier statement, Walmart called the incident “a reckless act designed to scare people, disrupt our business and it put our associates and customers at risk” and said Andreychenko is no longer welcomed in its stores.
Andreychenko said the rifle was holstered and he didn’t touch it after putting it on. He contended shoppers didn’t seemed shocked or panicked until a store employee pulled a fire alarm.
Andreychenko said he always carries a gun, vest and ammunition in his car for protection and because he frequently practices shooting at a range.
“I just want people to know there was no evil to what I did. This was not a hate inspired act. This was purely innocent — the timing was just so off,” he said. “I would never want to hurt anyone. I pray to God that everything works out.”
A spokeswoman for the Springfield police department said police and city officials would not comment because the incident is still being investigated.