When Ed Morrissey wrote about the good guy with a gun stopping another potential mass shooter at a Missouri Walmart yesterday, he raised the question of whether or not the suspect had actually broken any laws. Authorities have begun releasing more information about what 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko was up to when he donned body armor and walked into the Springfield Walmart, where he was confronted by an armed, off duty firefighter. And from what we’re learning thus far, it’s unclear if they can pin anything on him. (Associated Press)
“I wanted to know if Walmart honored the Second Amendment,” a probable cause statement released 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 the body armor from the trunk 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.
So far, authorities have charged Andreychenko with one count of first-degree making of a terrorist threat, but they’ve yet to describe any evidence of that beyond perhaps interpreting his motions and body language. As Ed mentioned yesterday, there is video available that Andreychenko recorded himself, and that may turn out to be the escape hatch his attorneys will be looking for. In advance of the trip to Walmart, he allegedly asked both his wife and his sister to come along and record the video. They both declined, basically telling him that he was an idiot who could get himself killed.
After arriving at the store, he donned the body armor, slung his rifle, holstered his handgun and grabbed a shopping cart. There is no indication that he ever lifted the muzzle of the rifle to point it at anyone, nor did he draw the sidearm. There was only one round in the handgun, further suggesting that he wasn’t actually preparing to do “maximum damage.” The rifle had a loaded magazine, but there wasn’t a round in the chamber.
Andreychenko says he was there to find out if the store would “honor” his Second Amendment rights. And unless authorities can show some proof that he even hinted at opening fire, they’re going to have a hard time bringing additional charges or getting a conviction on the terrorist threat count. In reality, what he did was walk into Walmart with a cart and some loaded weapons. In that regard, how was what he did any different than what the off-duty firefighter did? They both walked into the store with loaded weapons. And if those videos bear out what Andreychenko is claiming, he might have a very solid defense indeed.
Wearing body armor is legal in Missouri unless you have been previously convicted of a felony or are in the act of committing a crime. So it sounds like they can’t even hang a charge on him for that.
In the end, what Andreychenko is guilty of is first-degree stupidity, but sadly there are still no laws on the books about that. He clearly knew that the entire country was on edge after the previous mass shootings, particularly when one took place at a Walmart. The fact that the firefighter didn’t blow his head off is almost miraculous, so Andreychenko should feel very lucky to be alive. But did he actually break any laws? The more we learn, the more it sounds like the answer will be no. And that video might just get him off on the terrorist threat charge as well.