Armed Bragg soldier headed to photo shoot arrested at Fayetteville mall
A 25-year-old Army sergeant who was planning to take photos in military gear was arrested at Fayetteville's Cross Creek Mall Thursday evening after dozens of panicked 911 calls from shoppers.Posted — Updated
Bryan Scott Wolfinger is charged with going armed to the terror of the public. Police said Wolfinger was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, military ballistic panel carrier and multiple high-capacity rifle magazine when he was taken into custody.
Investigators said multiple shoppers began calling 911 shortly after Wolfinger arrived at the mall for a photo shoot.
Officers arriving on scene encountered Wolfinger near an entrance in the Macy's wing of the mall, and he was taken into custody without incident.
Wolfinger was processed at the Cumberland County jail and released to his company commander at Fort Bragg, police said.
Officers also searched the mall for a possible second gunman, but later determined Wolfinger was alone.
"The entire mall was searched to ensure that a second armed subject was not present," Fayetteville police said in a statement.
Fayetteville Assistant Police Chief Anthony Kelly said Wolfinger did not threaten anyone and that the ammunition rounds were in a backpack.
"With the terror alerts that we've had, it's a holiday weekend, it's the nation's birthday, our senses are high," he said. "Thankfully, it turned out like it did."
Amirah Williams, who was shopping at the mall, said the man's presence created chaos.
"It was really chaotic," she said. "It was scary. Nobody ever wants to be in a predicament like that. I was panicking. My friends were panicking. Everyone in the mall was panicking. It was just scary."
Xyn Rufus was also in shock.
"I called my parents, that's the first thing I did," she said.
No additional information about the incident has been released.