Was it an attempt to copy the shootings in Boulder, a troll, or a really bad idea? We don’t know the motive yet, but a 22-year old was arrested on multiple charges in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday after showing up at a Publix grocery store with six firearms and body armor.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, police were called to the Publix around 1:30 in the afternoon, where they were greeted by a store manager who told officers that a man carrying a rifle had strolled in to the store and headed straight for the bathroom.
“A witness observed the male and alerted store management, who then notified police,” Atlanta police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Officers at the scene spotted the man leaving the bathroom and quickly took him into custody. According to police, his weapons included two long guns and four pistols, all of which were concealed.
Police identified the man as Rico Marley. He was booked into the Fulton County Jail on multiple charges of criminal attempt to commit a felony and weapons possession. Marley is scheduled for a first appearance before a judge Thursday morning.
Officers and paramedics interviewed Marley and conducted a psychiatric evaluation, authorities said. Police are still working to determine why he had so many guns inside the store.
I’m curious to see what Marley has to say when he makes his first court appearance today, but my first thought when I saw this story was the case of Dmitriy Andreychenko, a 21-year old from Missouri who decided to film himself walking around his local Walmart grocery store open carrying a rifle days after the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas in 2019.
In that case, Andreychenko had no intent on harming anyone, but was conducting what he called a social experiment. As a result of his “experiment,” the young man ended up facing criminal charges.
Officials say Andreychenko told family members about his plan prior to the incident, and they warned him it was a bad idea.
After [his plea agreement] hearing, Andreychenko spoke with reporters and apologized to the community, saying he never intended to harm anyone.
“I want to assure the city of Springfield that I’m not a threat to anyone,” Andreychenko said. “I sincerely apologize to everyone for scaring people like this. I love my city. I love Missouri. I love this country.”
He allegedly told police he wanted to test if Walmart honored the Second Amendment.
In that case, Andreychenko ended up pleading to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report (those reports coming from shoppers who alerted police about a possible active assailant in the store). He received two years probation, was ordered to undergo firearms training, and to meet with some of the folks who were in the store that day and were freaked out by the sight of him walking through the store with a rifle.
We don’t know if the man arrested in Atlanta had a similar motivation, or if there was actual intent to cause harm, but either way I suspect it’s not going to end up well for Rico Marley. With the murders in Boulder still fresh on the minds of shoppers, there was understandable concern from shoppers when he walked inside the Publix with his rifle and headed straight to the back of the store, and I’m guessing the courts aren’t going to look too kindly on his actions, even if it was intended as a stunt and not the start of a killing spree.
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