Police Chief responds to Springfield Walmart incident, explains open carry law

JPD on open carry in light of Springfield situation

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Despite the tactical weapons and body armor, the man arrested Thursday after causing panic at a Springfield, Mo. Walmart may not have broken the state’s open carry law.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said cases like this all depend on the suspect’s intent, and the prosecuting attorney’s decision.

“It is alarming and would be alarming here today in any situation,” said Elliott.

20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko walked into a Springfield Walmart Thursday, carrying tactical weapons and wearing body armor, officials said.

“Obviously if a person walks in with a rifle people are going to call the police and we’re going to respond,” said Elliott.

Andreychenko was charged with making a terrorist threat in the second degree.

He walked into a Walmart: Neighborhood Market armed with tactical weapons and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, but he may not have broken the state’s open carry law.

“Now that person may say that I’m exercising my right for constitutional carry which he or she can explain themselves and that may be the end result,” said Elliott.

Deciding how to charge him and if he did break that law is something the Prosecuting Attorney has to decide.

“It’s a fine line that the prosecution has to look at and the police have to deal with,” said Elliott. “What’s the intent, can you prove what the intent was when he walked into the store?”

Arkansas is also an open-carry state, but Elliott said he’s not really concerned about seeing people carry in public.

“As long as they’re not doing things that are crazy or bringing attention to them in an irrational way then there should not really be an issue,” said Elliott. "We understand that people have these rights, but we also just ask that you use some common sense.”

But when people choose to draw attention the way Andreychenko did, it could have a negative impact on open carry laws in the future.

“We don’t want someone to cause our legislatures to have to go in and be more restrictive because somebody was being careless," Elliott noted.

Chief Elliott said it’s also best to let management and law enforcement handle these situations.

“Your best action unless somebody is shooting then if you’re that concerned bring it to management attention, they can contact police, or you can contact police,” said Elliott.

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