North America

Armed man says he was testing his rights

Dmitriy Andreychenko, 20, was caught in a Missouri Walmart with an assault rifle. (AAP)

A man who went to a Walmart store carrying an assault rifle, just days after a mass shooting, says he was testing his right to bear arms.

Prosecutors have filed a terrorist threat charge against a 20-year-old man who says he walked into a Missouri Walmart carrying a loaded rifle and handgun to test whether the store would honour his right to bear arms.

The incident, just days after 22 people were killed during an attack at another Walmart in El Paso, Texas, caused a panic at the Springfield, Missouri, store. Dmitriy Andreychenko walked through filming himself with his mobile phone on Thursday afternoon.

No shots were fired and Andreychenko was arrested after he was stopped by an armed off-duty firefighter at the store.

"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," Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said in a statement announcing the charge.

Patterson compared the man's actions to "falsely shouting fire in a theatre causing a panic."

If convicted, the felony charge of making a terrorist threat in the second degree is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to the prosecutor's office. The charge means he showed reckless disregard for the risk of causing an evacuation or knowingly caused fear that lives were in danger.

"I wanted to know if Walmart honoured the Second Amendment," a probable cause statement released on 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 body armour from the boot 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.

His wife, Angelice Andreychenko, told investigators that she warned him it was not a good idea, adding that he was an immature boy.

It's not alleged 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.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch