Police arrest N.C. soldier with assault rifle headed to mall photo shoot

Police evacuated a Fayetteville, N.C., mall Thursday after panicked shoppers called 911 about a heavily armed man walking through the shopping center.

Police arrested Army Sgt. Bryan Scott Wolfinger, 25, for allegedly walking through Cross Creek Mall carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, military ballistic panel carrier and a number of high-capacity rifle magazines.

The Fort Bragg soldier told police he was on his way to a photo shoot.

Wolfinger was charged with going armed to the terror of the public.

Shoppers initially thought Wolfinger intended to open fire at the mall, perhaps fueled by government warnings of possible terror attacks over the Independence Day weekend.

There were reports of a second armed man at the mall, but police said they only found Wolfinger.

“The entire mall was searched to ensure that a second armed subject was not present,” Fayetteville police said in a statement.

Wolfinger was booked at the Cumberland County Detention Center and released to his company commander, WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., reported.

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