St. Louis’ top prosecutor has charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who pointed guns at protesters marching by their mansion last month, with felony unlawful use of a weapon.
The McCloskeys, who are both personal injury attorneys in their 60s, also face a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault, the Associated Press reported.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis.”
Many have defended the McCloskeys, saying they were legally protecting their $1.15 million home as several hundred protesters marched by on their way to the mayor’s home a few blocks away. The couple heard a loud commotion and saw a large group of people break an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs, according to a police report.
A protest leader has disputed this version of events, saying the gate was open and undamaged.
Mark McCloskey allegedly met protesters with a semi-automatic rifle, screaming and pointing the gun at them before his wife joined him with a semi-automatic handgun, yelling at protesters to “go” and pointing it at them. No shots were fired.
An attorney for the couple, Joel Schwartz, in a statement called Gardner’s decision to charge “disheartening.”
“I unequivocally believe no crime was committed,” he said.
Gardner is recommending a diversion program such as community service rather than jail time if they are convicted, though Missouri Governor Mike Parson said in a radio interview Friday that he would likely pardon the couple if they were convicted.
Parson, who co-authored Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law that justifies deadly force for those who are defending their homes from intruders, has said that the McCloskeys “had every right to protect their property.”