FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WJZ) — A Maryland native currently assigned to Fort Bragg puts a North Carolina mall on lockdown.
Now the Army sergeant faces charges for carrying a military style rifle and ammunition outside the busy shopping center.
Linh Bui explains why the soldier said he was there.
This comes on a holiday weekend, when people have been told to be vigilant.
So when people outside the mall saw something — and man with a gun — they said something.
Bryan Wolfinger sat handcuffed on the ground outside the Cross Creek Mall.
Fayetteville Police say they arrested the Army sergeant after he brought an AR-15 rifle to the shopping center.
“We got a call, several calls about a subject enter the mall with a rifle,” Asst. Police Chief Anthony Kelly said. “The first two responding officers made contact, gave him a verbal command and the subject complied and they took him into custody.”
Witnesses who saw Wolfinger toting the assault rifle called 911.
“They were very panicked, actually a lot of kids were crying,” one person said.
“We were just at the counter and the police officer came up and said tell everyone to evacuate the mall and none of us has any idea what was happening,” an eyewitness said.
Investigators told CBS, Wolfinger never made it inside the mall.
He had a militayr-grade tactical vest and was carrying multiple high-capacity magazines.
Fayetteville Police told CBS This Morning that Wolfinger was at the mall because he “was going to have photographer taken at a student with the military equipment and rifle.”
‘We just feel it was an individual who made a bad decision,” one official said.
After his arrest, he was released into the military’s custody.
Wolfinger is charged with a misdemeanor of “going armed to the terror of the public.”
The Cross Creek Mall is about 10 miles from Fort Bragg, the nation’s largest military station.