Armed Man Who Terrified Missouri Walmart to Test Second Amendment Rights Pleads Guilty to Minor Offense

A man who terrified a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, in August after he entered the store clad in body armor while carrying a loaded rifle and handgun pleaded guilty on Friday to a less severe misdemeanor charge.

Dmitriy Andreychenko, 21, was originally charged with making terrorist threats, a second-degree felony punishable by up to four years in prison. But on Friday prosecutors instead allowed Andreychenko to enter a guilty plea to a charge of causing a false police report to be made.

This Class D misdemeanor carries a potential penalty of six months imprisonment, but Andreychenko received just two days "shock time" and earned credit for time served. As part of his sentence, he must complete community service hours, attend a firearm educational course and participate in a restorative justice program.

Andreychenko comes from a Ukrainian family and lives in Missouri, with his pregnant wife, on a green card. He entered the Springfield-area Walmart store in August, brandishing loaded firearms and donning body armor that he had retrieved from the trunk of his car.

Dee Wampler, Andreychenko's attorney, told Newsweek that his client is a "good man" who erred in judgment.

"His wife and sister told him not to do it," Wampler said. "Next time, he should listen to them."

If Andreychenko had been prosecuted on the original felony charge, Wampler said, he could have faced deportation if convicted.

The August incident occurred as Americans across the country were still on edge from a mass shooting just days before, when a suspected white supremacist killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

Andreychenko was apparently attempting to test the reach of his federal gun rights, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case. He was also recording himself on a cellphone "in case somebody was going to stop him and tell him to leave."

"I wanted to know if Walmart honored the Second Amendment," he reportedly told a police officer.

The Second Amendment prevents the government from unduly restricting gun rights but does not impose requirements on private businesses.

"Missouri protects the right of people to open carry a firearm, but that right 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 press release just after the incident.

"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 theatre and causing a panic.' Mr. Patterson also asks everyone who exercises their right to carry a weapon to do so in a responsible manner," the release added.

In response to a request for comment, a Walmart spokesperson told Newsweek that the company "would not be a barrier" to any of its employees participating in a restorative justice program with Andreychenko if they wish to do so.

The Missouri Department of Corrections administers a restorative justice program which is intended to provide "a means for [offenders] to repay their debt to the victim and the community."

These programs act as a means for victims and offenders to interact, learn more about each other and develop ways of redressing the wrongs committed by the offender without jail or prison time.

Walmart
Last August, a man entered a Missouri Walmart (not pictured) while brandishing loaded firearms and donning body armor that he had retrieved from the trunk of his car. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Armed Man Who Terrified Missouri Walmart to Test Second Amendment Rights Pleads Guilty to Minor Offense | U.S.