ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – St. Louis police have applied for warrants in the case of the Central West End couple who pointed guns at protesters on their street. But Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is silent on whether charges will be filed against the McCloskeys.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden on Tuesday told News 4 they applied for warrants but did not elaborate on what those warrants allege or who they are against. The guns were turned over to police as evidence.
“The hostility is what I noticed,” Hayden said. “I don't want to see guns out when people are very hostile and angry at each other. Those are recipes for violence, so again we applied on warrant, there's been follow up information and we are waiting on the decision on the warrant application.
The incident – which went viral around the globe, happened Sunday, June 28 when a large group of people were headed to a protest calling for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to resign.
In the pictures, Patricia and Mark McCloskey are seen pointing guns the protesters. Their defense attorney Joel Schwartz has previously maintained they are innocent. He says they were acting within their full rights to protect themselves and their property. The street is private and he says the protesters were trespassing and were threatening to the McCloskeys.
A search warrant was executed Friday evening at the Central West End of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, Schwartz told News 4. He did not comment on whether anything was seized from the home. The pair was previously represented by Al Watkins.
“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."
According to Watkins, the search warrant was executed because Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner “sought weapons held by Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey during June 28, 2020 in defense of themselves and their home at time of the march.” The attorney said he had been given possession of the couple's hand gun, adding it was used as an exhibit in court following the incident and that it was not dis-chargeable.
Watkins said Patricia McCloskey knew the gun was not operable when she pointed it, with her finger on the trigger, at protesters.
News 4 reached out to him Tuesday afternoon and he said he had no comment at this time. St. Louis prosecutors have not yet said if charges would be filed but did say they continue to investigate, and Gardner's office would only say the investigation is ongoing.
What kind of charges could the McCloskeys face?
John Ammann, a SLU Law professor, said filing charges against the couple is really complicated.
"It's not as simple as people might think," Ammann said, adding that the devil is in the details.
"Keep in mind, we have two people, the husband and wife, we have two different guns, two different types. One which the lawyer said was operable, the other might have been operable, so the details are really important here," Ammann said.
The law professor believe self-defense, including the Castle doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws, could apply here. Ammann said the prosecutor must be guided by the facts.
"The rest of what is going on, the politicians and everything else, is noise at this point. And if she is going to bring a case, she has to do it with witnesses," the SLU Law professor said.
Trump weighs in on the case
Meanwhile, President Trump is keeping an eye on the case, Governor Parson said Tuesday.
"I just got off the phone with the President of the United States before I walked out here today," Parson said. "He understands the situation in Missouri. He understands the situation in St. Louis and how out of control it is for a prosecutor to let violent criminals off and not do their job and try to attack law-abiding citizens. The conversation I had with the President, said that he would do everything he could within his powers to help with this situation."
In response to Parson's comments on the president's potential involvement, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner released the following statement:
"Today, both the Governor and Donald Trump came after me for doing my job and investigating a case. While they continue to play politics with the handling of this matter, spreading misinformation and distorting the truth, I refuse to do so. As I always do, I am reviewing all the available facts and the law and will apply them equally, regardless of the people involved.
It is unbelievable the Governor of the state of Missouri would seek advice from one of the most divisive leaders in our generation to overpower the discretion of a locally elected prosecutor. It is also incredible that at a time when our nation is dealing with a rapidly spreading deadly virus and our State reported a record number of new infections, they are launching these dog-whistle attacks against me. They should be focused on their jobs, and I’ll focus on mine."