A man decked out with a loaded rifle, body armor, military fatigues, and ammunition terrified shoppers and sparked chaos at a Missouri Walmart Thursday night, less than a week after a gunman killed 22 people in a Texas Walmart.
Dmitriy N. Andreychenko, 20, might’ve been trying to get a rise out of people, Springfield Police told the Springfield News-Leader. If so, he succeeded. A store manager pulled a fire alarm and shoppers fled after Andreychenko started pushing a cart around the store, videotaping his moves on his cellphone. Andreychenko tried to make his way to an emergency exit, but a former firefighter held him at gunpoint, according to local NBC affiliate KYTV.
Andreychenko was arrested, and local cops discovered he was toting 100 rounds of ammunition. He was charged with making a terrorist threat. A Facebook page belonging to a man of the same name — also based in Springfield — regularly posts pro-gun and anti-liberal content.
Nobody was hurt in the incident, and Andreychenko’s motive remains unclear. It’s legal to openly carry firearms in Missouri if the weapon isn’t displayed in an angry or threatening manner.
“His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that,” Springfield Police Lt. Mike Lucas told the News-Leader. "His intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here. In fact, he’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest.”
The Springfield incident will stoke only more panic in an on-edge nation reeling from two mass shootings last week — the Walmart shooting in El Paso, and another shooting 13 hours later in Ohio that killed nine people.
The days after the tragedies have seen several would-be copycat incidents at Walmrts around the country: A man was arrested Sunday after making an active shooter threat at a Florida Walmart, a man pulled a gun during an altercation in a Louisiana Walmart Tuesday, on Wednesday, police in Federal Way, Washington were looking for an armed man that allegedly wandered into a Walmart and started threatening people, spurring an evacuation. And an anti-gun activist freaked out a Walmart clerk in Port St. Lucie, Florida, after he asked for a gun that would “kill 200 people.” A police investigation revealed it to be a political stunt, and the man hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Since the El Paso shooting, which was apparently inspired by the gunman’s hatred for immigrants and Latinos, some Walmart employees have said the superstore should stop stocking assault weapons. Walmart told Bloomberg News it has no plans to comply with those demands, but has instead removed displays and signs for violent video games across its stores. Despite much research into whether violent video games correlate to real-life violence, no conclusive link has been established.
Cover: In this Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, photo, shoppers walks down an isle at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)