St. Louis Couple Who Aimed AR-15 at Protesters Must Be Held Accountable: Prosecutor

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner indicated via tweets Monday the actions by a couple who aimed their firearms, including an AR-15, at protesters "will not be tolerated."

"I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault," the prosecutor said in reference to the armed couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey. "We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated."

"My office is currently working with the public and police to investigate these events. Make no mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those exercising their First Amendment rights, and will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable," Gardner said.

Protesters marched by the McCloskey residence on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson's home Sunday, where they planned to assemble and demand her resignation after the mayor revealed the identities of protesters who want to defund the police during a Facebook Live appearance.

In order to get to the mayor's home, protesters walked through a pedestrian gate that led to Portland Place, where the home is located. A sign posted outside of the gate reads, "Private Street, Access is Limited to Residents." Protesters walked through and broke off the gate in the process.

Authorities said the McCloskeys called police upon seeing the crowd of people enter the residential area and break down the gate with clear signs indicating, "No Trespassing."

Police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "the group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police."

Mark McCloskey said Monday the scene was "like the storming of the Bastille," according to a report by KMOV 4 News.

"I was terrified that we'd be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed," McCloskey said.

Albert Watkins, an attorney representing the couple, said in a statement his clients felt threatened by "two bad actors" at the protest.

"Both Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey acted lawfully on their property which sits on a private gated lane in the City of St. Louis. Their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension, the genesis of which was not race related. In fact, the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white," Watkins said, adding that his clients do not want anyone to think less of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Newsweek reached out to the Circuit Attorney's office to ask what charges could possibly be brought up against the couple, but they did not respond back in time for publication.

Protest in St. Louis
Protesters march against police brutality on June 14, 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney is investigating a couple who aimed guns at protesters Sunday. Michael B. Thomas/Getty