ST. LOUIS (KMOV/CNN) – The Central West End couple seen on video pointing guns at protesters marching to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home on Sunday are receiving both praise and scrutiny nationally. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, both lawyers themselves, have retained council as some are calling for charges.
One of the keys of the incident is whether the McCloskeys were protecting themselves after getting threats or if they provoked the angry reaction after pointing guns at the crowd first.
"You couldn't have gone to central casting and asked for a more elegant home that will represent white entitlement," said the couple's attorney Albert Watkins, admitting the optics are bad.
Watkins said Mark and Patricia McCloskey have fought for the civil rights of clients for decades and support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It was like the storming of the Bastille, the gate came down and a large crowd of angry, aggressive people poured through,” Mark McCloskey said. “I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed."
“We are Black Lives Matter people; it’s just the way they came in and were so aggressive,” Patricia said, speaking off camera Tuesday.
Protest organizers admitted they want to be disruptive and say trespassing is part of their civil disobedience.
"They weren't afraid of peaceful protesters,” Watkins said of the McCloskeys. “These aren't people who are afraid of people of color. These are people who felt in fear for their lives."
"I was a person scared for my life, protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood. I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate," Mark McCloskey told CNN's Chris Cuomo Tuesday. He appeared on both CNN and Fox News Tuesday night.
Police tell News 4 they did receive a 911 call from the McCloskey’s street during the time of the incident. The couple said they were outside when they saw the crowd of protesters come through the locked gate.
"And so when the gate got breached I grabbed a rifle and I stood out on the east patio and I said just exactly what I said,” Mark McCloskey said. “That this is private property, Please leave, go back."
McCloskey told CNN the mayor's house cannot be reached through his neighborhood and that hundreds of protesters broke through a private gate. He said the protesters threatened to kill him and his dogs and burn his house down.
Watkins said there were two white men who made death threats and that’s when the McCloskeys grabbed their weapons.
"In the case of two individuals, did so in a case that was threatening, menacing, mean, vile fashion, which included verbal threats. Visual threats such that weapons were seen,” Watkins said.
But, that’s not exactly what Mark McCloskey told News 4’s Emma Hogg in an interview on Monday, saying “the threats happened probably after we got the guns.”
Watkins said cameras couldn’t and didn’t catch everything that was said or done, but there were threats made against the couple so they had every right to protect themselves and their property. Now, it’s up to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to decide of they did anything illegal.