If you're a sergeant in the US Army, the long Fourth of July weekend might seem the perfect opportunity to get decked out in your military-grade tactical vest and have a photo taken of you holding some of your weaponry. At least, that's what Bryan Scott Wolfinger of the 82nd Airborne tells police was his plan yesterday evening, notes CBS News—except he appears to have chosen a poor way to execute it. Wolfinger was arrested at the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, NC, about 10 miles outside of where Wolfinger is stationed at Fort Bragg, after panicked calls starting coming in to 911 about a man strolling through the Macy's department store with a rifle. Cops rushed over to the mall and "the male subject was detained without incident and was in the possession of an AR-15, a Kevlar vest, and multiple rifle ammunition magazines," a Fayetteville Police statement says, per CNN.
"They were very panicked, actually; a lot of kids were crying," one shopper tells CBS in describing the scene. The 25-year-old Wolfinger was charged with "going armed to the terror of the public," a misdemeanor, reports WNCN, which adds he was arrested at one of the Macy's entrances; investigators tell CBS he never actually entered the mall. Police say Wolfinger told them he "was going to have photographs taken at a studio with the military equipment and rifle," notes CNN. Reports of a possible second armed man in the mall were deemed unfounded after a search. "We just feel it was an individual who made a bad decision," Fayetteville's assistant police chief tells CBS, while an Army official notes that Wolfinger used "very poor judgment" and that they'll be looking into whether he broke any organizational laws regarding storage of his AR-15 (not an Army-issued weapon).