SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- 20 year old Dmitriy Andreychenko is charged with making a terrorist threat, which is a felony, after walking into a Springfield Walmart heavily armed, wearing a tactical vest. His family says he was trying to do a social experiment.
"He is a God-fearing man, who just decided to make a bad decision that could ruin his life, but I pray that it doesn't." said Anastasia Andreychenko, Dmitriy's younger sister. She said he had called her just after 3pm on Thursday, asking her to help with his social experiment.
"He asked me if I would go in and record him," said Anastasia. "He said he wanted to see if the manager at Walmart would ask [him] to leave, even though he was doing everything legally. He said he was going to go in with his weapon and shop."
Dmitriy's wife and Anastasia told him it wasn't a good idea.
"Obviously people are going to be on their toes after something that just happened like that," said Angelica Andreychenko, Dmitriy's wife. "Especially with that kind of whatever he had on and his gun. I don't know why he would be… especially the timing, the timing was so bad."
After his arrest, police say Andreychenko told them he "Wanted to know if that [sic] Walmart honored the 2nd amendment." And said he filmed himself in case somebody was going to stop him and tell him to leave.
Court documents show a manager at Walmart heard an employee say that a man was walking into the store with a rifle and believed Andreychenko came into the store to shoot people. Andreychenko told police he did not believe people would react the way they did saying, "This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out."
"If it had just been a sidearm, people do that all of the time, that is totally lawful," said attorney Dee Wampler, who is representing Andreychenko. "But I think carrying a long gun scared some people and we understand why."
Wampler agreed with the family, that the timing of the social experiment was not good.
"It may have been a bad decision, but criminal intent no." Wampler added.
"He wasn't trying to kill anybody and he wasn't trying to shoot anybody." said Irin Usik, Andreychenko's older sister. She heard about his experiment, and when he wasn't answering his phone, decided to stop by the Walmart and saw the chaos firsthand.
"We do want to apologize for all of the people that were there during this incident. I would be worried myself. What they had to go through with their families and children, we are very sorry that this has happened." added Usik.
But the family says it was all a big misunderstanding.
"I just don't think he understood the impact that the previous events had, and so he didn't consider what was going to happen." Anastasia explained.
"We could have been planning his memorial tomorrow, so we are very grateful that nobody died, nobody got shot, just thankful to God that he is still alive." said Usik.
"He is not the guy everyone is portraying him out to be." Angelica said, through tears.
Wampler expects Andreychenko to stay in jail over the weekend.