St. Louis, MO – The city prosecutor on Monday announced charges against the St. Louis couple who displayed weapons to defend their property after violent protesters broke through a locked gate into their private neighborhood to march on the mayor’s home in June.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with one felony count each of unlawful use of a weapon, The Washington Post reported.
“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,” Gardner said in a statement on July 20.
She didn’t issue warrants for the arrest of the McCloskeys though, and instead sent them summonses to appear in court, FOX News reported.
The prosecutor has said she would consider the couple for a diversion program which would enable them to later have the charge removed from their records, The Washington Post reported.
“I believe this would serve as a fair resolution to this matter,” Gardner said.
However, to take advantage of a diversion program, a defendant must first plead guilty to the charge.
The McCloskeys are facing anything from probation to four years in prison if they are convicted on the charges, The Washington Post reported.
“It’s a totally upside-down world,” Mark McCloskey told FOX News on Monday night. “The prosecutor apparently thinks her job isn’t to keep us safe from criminals, but to keep the criminals safe from us… We’re not going to apologize for doing what’s right.”
Investigators later determined that the semi-automatic rifle Mark McCloskey was carrying during the incident wasn’t loaded, and the handgun Patricia McCloskey held wasn’t even real, FOX News reported.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he would move to have the charges against the couple dismissed shortly after Gardner announced them.
Schmitt submitted a brief that respectfully requested the judge dismiss the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey as quickly as possible on the grounds their Second Amendment rights had been violated, FOX News reported.
“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine, which provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” the attorney general said in a written statement.
“Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed suit against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety,” he continued. “As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said on Friday that he was ready to pardon the couple.
Parson told a radio station that he thinks a pardon is “exactly what would happen” if the couple is charged, according to FOX News.
“I don’t think they’re going to spend any time in jail,” the governor said.
The initial incident occurred June 28 as Mark McCloskey said he was having dinner outside with his family at about 7:30 p.m. when they heard the mob approaching, KMOV reported.
The McCloskeys live in a gated community well marked with “Private Street” and “No Trespassing” signs.
The incident occurred after a month of protests and rioting in the city where four St. Louis police officers were shot and buildings were torched and looted.
But protesters were angry with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson for releasing the names of activists who had sent her letters demanding she defund the police department, and they were trying to make their way to her home to protest, KMOV reported.
Mark McCloskey later told CNN that it’s impossible to reach the mayor’s house from their street.
“A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives,” Mark McCloskey said.
So he and his wife grabbed weapons and went to defend their home and property, KMOV reported.
Videos posted to social media by participants showed protesters breaking the locked wrought iron pedestrian gate into the tony private neighborhood and marching right in.
“This is all private property,” Mark McCloskey explained to KMOV. “There are no public sidewalks or public streets. I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.”
“[They said] that they were going to kill us,” Patricia McCloskey told FOX News. “They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room.’”
Video showed the McCloskeys standing on his porch facing off with protests, a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol.
The video showed Mark repeatedly told the protesters to get out and that they were trespassing on private property.
Neither of the McCloskeys appeared to be concerned about what direction their weapons were pointing, the video showed.
In the video, protesters reacted with shock to the sight of the armed couple and others can be heard encouraging them to keep walking and not engage.
However, some of the protesters stayed in front of the McCloskeys home antagonizing and challenging them, yelling obscenities and threats, the video showed.
The group eventually made its way down the street.
They painted the word “resign” in giant letters on the street in front of the mayor’s home.
Afterwards the McCloskeys filed a police report about the trespassing incident with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the Associated Press reported.
They told officers that some of the protesters were armed.
The McCloskeys have a personal injury law practice together that is also based in the Central West End, KMOV reported.
The home which they planned to defend is valued at $1.15 million and was featured in St. Louis Magazine, the Associated Press reported.