News and Commentary

St. Louis Won’t Prosecute Trespassing Cases Involving Gun-Wielding Homeowners

“Prosecution is not warranted.”
Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images

St. Louis officials have announced that they will not prosecute nine people who were charged with trespassing in a private neighborhood, which drew two gun-wielding residents out of their home and onto their front yard to guard their property.

The nine protesters had been issued police summonses this month, but City Counselor Michael Garvin said in a Tuesday statement that “prosecution is not warranted” and charges would be refused, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“Garvin wrote that the cases had been investigated by municipal court prosecutors, who reviewed video of the June incident, conducted interviews and examined property records of the street, Portland Place. He also said residents who are trustees of Portland Place made clear through their lawyer that they did not want to pursue trespassing charges,” the paper reported.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey wielded weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters after a group of some 300 protesters came into their neighborhood in St. Louis on June 28.

In July, law enforcement authorities in St. Louis executed a search warrant at the home of the couple. Two local news stations, KMOV and KSDK, reported that the warrant was carried out in St. Louis’s affluent Central West End neighborhood. KSDK reported that the search resulted in police seizing the rifle that Mark McCloskey was seen holding during the incident.

According to police reports, the McCloskeys told police that they heard a disturbance and saw “a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.”

“The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims,” St. Louis police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police.”

The couple still each face a single felony count of unlawful use of a weapon — exhibiting. The charges say he pointed an AR-15 rifle at protesters and she wielded a semiautomatic handgun.

The pair, both lawyers, said they feared for their lives. “It was shocking. The gate came in. Seemingly everybody in the world came forward. I think the estimate is 300-500 people,” Mark McCloskey told Fox News in August.

“They came right towards us. We were preparing to have dinner on the porch and we were literally 70 feet from the gate.  By the time we got our guns, by the time I got my gun, the crowd was probably 30 or 40 feet from us. We thought it was the end. People were screaming everything,” he said.

Asked what the protesters were shouting at them, Patricia McClosky said: “That they were going to kill us, 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.”

Related: St. Louis Police Apply For Warrants In Case Of Armed Homeowners, Reports Say

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