St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, announced on Monday that she is charging the St. Louis couple who defended their private property using firearms last month with felony unlawful use of a weapon. The couple is also reportedly facing a fourth-degree misdemeanor assault charge.
“Mark and Patricia McCloskey each are facing a single felony count of unlawful use of a weapon — exhibiting,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “Charging documents say he pointed an AR-15 rifle at protesters and she wielded a semiautomatic handgun, placing those protesters in fear of injury.”
In a statement, Gardner said, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.”
Mark McCloskey, who is a lawyer, said last month during a local interview, “I went inside; I got a rifle … because as soon as I said ‘this is private property,’ those words enraged the crowd.”
“Horde, an absolute horde came through the smashed-down gates, coming right at the house,” Mark McCloskey said. “And then I stood out there, the only thing we said is, ‘This is private property, go back, private property, leave now.’ At that point, everybody got enraged, there were people wearing body armor.”
“One person pulled out [some] loaded pistol magazines and he clicked them together and he said, ‘You’re next,’” McCloskey continued. “We were threatened with our lives, threatened with the house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was about as bad as it can get. You know, I really thought it was the storming of Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd and they broke in the gate and they were coming at us.”
Republicans have stood up for the McCloskeys as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr urging him to action against Gardner. Twelve Republican members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Barr, in which they specifically named the McCloskeys, demanding that he take “decisive action” to protect Americans from “mob rule.” Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parsons signaled last week that he would likely pardon the McCloskeys if they were charged.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) responded to the charges by writing on Twitter, “St. Louis’s Soros-funded prosecutor let dozens of violent rioters go free, she sued her own police department, and murder has skyrocketed under her watch. Yet despite refusing to arrest violent criminals, she targets a family with a felony for guarding their home.”
A few hours before news broke about the charges, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote on Twitter, “Soros-funded DA criminally prosecuting citizens—and confiscating their guns—for defending their home & their family from the mob. Gov says he will pardon them. What are the chances a Dem gov would do the same? Sadly, ZERO. Elections matter.”
The angry mob that mowed down a private fence to trespass on private property ceased being peaceful the moment the gate was damaged.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 20, 2020
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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