A Ukrainian gymnast who struggled with mental health problems was arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday after a passerby saw him load an automatic AK-47 and put it in the trunk of his BMW, police said.
Yevgen Buchkovskiy, 44, of Houston, Tex., was charged with nine counts of criminal possession of a weapon, four counts of criminal possession of a loaded gun, criminal possession of an assault rifle and criminal possession of ammunition, according to the NYPD. He had a loaded RAK-47 with two 30-round extended magazines, a loaded Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and a second unloaded shotgun, cops said.
Police got a 911 call describing the competitive tumbler filling his clip at E. 54th St. and Park Ave in Midtown around 7:30 p.m. and then stowing the weapon in the trunk of his German luxury car.
They found him four blocks away at E. 57th St., where they pulled him over and asked him about the gun.
Buchkovskiy admitted to having the loaded gun in the car and was cuffed. They came back to the car a few hours later with a search warrant and found the rest of the weapons cache.
The guns had been legally bought in Texas, but the gymnast was not legally permitted to carry them in New York State.
Police said that there was no indication that he had a target or intended to use the guns in the city.
A man who identified himself as the gymnast’s brother said that Buchkovskiy has been hospitalized three times since February for mental illness. He’s medicated while in the hospital, but stops taking his pills when he’s released, his brother said.
“He doesn’t understand what he’s doing. When he is taking the pills he is fine; he just stops taking them,” the brother said. “He hears voices.”
The brother said that Buchkovskiy drove to Washington, D.C., and then New York City.
“He changed cars three times,” the sibling said. “We knew he had the guns and we asked him to return them.”
© 2023 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.