Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On October 13, 2023, a Missoula Police Department Officer responded to the Southgate Mall for a report of a male pointing a handgun at a security officer. The officer arrived and spoke with the security officer who described a white male, approximately 20-30 years old with brown hair, wearing all black with a red backpack and bandana hanging out of his pocket. 

Mall customers had reported the suspect causing a disturbance and possessing a handgun. The security officer located the suspect near the H&M storefront, asking him to leave the mall and not return. The suspect then withdrew a handgun and pointed it directly at the security officer.  

The security officer froze. The suspect turned and walked away while maintaining the firearm’s aim at the security officer. The security officer believed it was a real handgun and feared for his life.  

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A Scheels employee notified dispatch that they had just sold two different BB handguns. A detective went to Scheels and viewed security footage of a male matching the earlier description. The footage showed the suspect purchasing a Crossman BB handgun at 11:47 a.m., several minutes before the security guard called 911. 

Poverello staff members had identified the male as 34-year-old Andrew Schroeder, stating that he had been there that morning.  

On October 14, the detective received a phone call advising that Schroeder had been located and taken into custody. An officer advised that the BB gun in question was in Schroeder’s pocket during a search incident to arrest. The officer later called the detective to share that he had Mirandized and interviewed Schroeder. Schroeder confessed to the incident, indicating that the security guard had every right to fear for his safety. 

Schroeder admitted to taking the gun out of the box while he was still in the mall, loading it with the CO2 cartridge, and then said, “some guy more or less just started harassing me. . . Like, he made this big ordeal out of me just taking it out of the box. . . And we got into it.” 

The officer asked Schroeder whether the security officer could have thought it was a real gun. Schroeder acknowledged in the affirmative, stating “BB guns have gotten so advanced.” The officer continued to explain to him how the security officer felt threatened by his actions. Schroeder agreed and said, “Because that thing looks real as f**k.” 

Schroeder is currently being charged with felony assault with a weapon. On October 16, 2023, he made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court and his bond was set at $50,000. 

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable. 

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