CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A man who walks around his neighborhood with a rifle strapped to his back says he is not a threat to harm anyone, but some neighbors fear he is an incident of vigilante justice waiting to happen.
John Schultz, 19, also wears a bullet-proof vest, carries ammunition and has a knife in a holster as he walks through Walnut Creek, which is off Sunset Road in north Charlotte.
The gun is his grandfather’s 303 British Enfield from WWII.
His walks cause double-takes as well as safety concerns for some. Schultz says others thank him and wave at him.
He says his walks are for exercise and picking up garbage, but also for looking out for his neighbors.
"It's nothing to do with the body armor, it's the person,” Schultz said. “Yes, it just so happens to be there."
“It’s a problem and a concern,” said neighbor Vanessa Aidara.
She says the rifle scares her and scares her kids to the point they won’t play in the yard.
"He could be good without the rifle. The rifle is what scares everybody because why do you need a rifle to pick up trash, get a trash bag,” Aidara said.
Schultz says he's spotted peeping toms and potential burglars in backyards while on his walks, which include in nearby woods, but not on private property.
"I won't brandish a firearm or anything, I won't chase somebody around. I will ask them to stop,” Schultz said.
"Let the police take care of that, not you,” said Aidara.
Aidara says she called police the first time she saw Schultz walking down the street.
“I had a panic attack, didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
She fears Schultz could be an incident of vigilante justice waiting to happen, or someone could target him for violence because he is armed.
"He could get hurt,” Aidara said.
"She's not really wanted to talk to me,” Schultz said.
If she did, Schultz says Aidara would feel different.
He's from a military family, hates garbage, loves his neighborhood and says he isn't looking for a fight.
Aidara wants the rifle-strapped neighborhood walks to stop.
Schutlz’s answer is no.
Police say Schultz isn't breaking any laws because he's not pointing the gun at anyone or threatening anyone with it.