Cindy Yorgason was in line at the J.C. Penney in Riverdale on Wednesday when she looked up and saw a shopper with “a large gun.” Yorgason said the rifle was slung across the back of the man in front of her. When she looked closer, she saw that he also had extra ammunition clips and a sidearm in a holster on his right hip.
“It wasn’t small,” Yorgason said of the pistol.
Amid a “lot of raised eyebrows” Yorgason quickly snapped a pair of photos, which she said have been going viral on Facebook ever since. She also said the first store clerkwhom the man approached refused to serve him, and everyone in the vicinity “wanted to get away.”
On Thursday, 22-year-old Joseph Kelley identified himself as the man in Yorgason’s pictures. Kelley described himself as a firm believer in Second Amendment rights and said he decided to bring the guns to the store to demonstrate that they are not dangerous in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
According to Kelley, the rifle was an unloaded AR-15 and the handgun was a loaded Glock 19C. He said he has a concealed-carry permit, is a former member of the military and contacted police dispatch before leaving his home to tell them about his plans. Kelley also said he was told that he was “well within his rights” and that bystanders’ reactions were positive.
“I felt no negative vibes from anyone,” Kelley said. “I think it went rather surprisingly well.” Kelley added that he carries weapons to protect children and other people from “criminals, cartels, drug lords” and other “evil men.”