ST. LOUIS (AP) — A white couple stood outside their mansion and pointed guns at protesters in St. Louis as the group marched toward the mayor’s home to demand her resignation. Police said people in the crowd yelled threats at the couple.
Mark McCloskey, 63, told a TV station that he and wife, Patricia, both personal injury lawyers, were facing an “angry mob” on their private street and feared for their lives Sunday night.
No charges were brought against them. Police said they were still investigating but labeled it a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters in the racially diverse crowd.
The marchers were angry at Mayor Lyda Krewson for reading aloud the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters calling for defunding the police department. The group of at least 500 people chanted, “Resign, Lyda! Take the cops with you!” news outlets reported.
A social media video showed Mark McCloskey and his 61-year-old wife standing outside their Renaissance palazzo-style home in the city’s well-to-do Central West End neighborhood. He could be heard yelling while holding a long-barreled gun. His wife stood next to him with a handgun.
Police said the couple had heard a loud commotion in the street and saw a large group of people break an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs.
Police said the man and woman told the marchers to leave because they were on a private street. But people in the crowd yelled obscenities and threats, police said. The man and woman said they saw people who were armed, so they armed themselves and called police, according to authorities.
Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that a mob rushed toward the home as the family was having dinner and “put us in fear of our lives.”
“This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would be killed, our home burned and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob,” McCloskey said.
Their home, which was featured in the local St. Louis Magazine after undergoing a renovation, is appraised at $1.15 million.
Telephone numbers for the McCloskeys were busy or rang unanswered Monday morning.
Video on social media showed protesters walking through the gate. It was unclear when it was damaged.
President Donald Trump retweeted an ABC News account of the confrontation without comment.
Krewon has faced demands for her resignation after a Facebook Live briefing on Friday where the white mayor read the names of those wanting to defund the police force. The video was removed and Krewson apologized the same day, saying she didn’t intend to cause distress.
The names and letters are considered public records, but Krewson’s actions caused a heavy backlash.
“As a leader, you don’t do stuff like that. … It’s only right that we visit her at her home,” said state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, a St. Louis Democrat, speaking into a megaphone at the march.
Protesters nationwide have been pushing to “ defund the police ” following the death of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police. Floyd was pronounced dead May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
Krewson, a longtime alderwoman, was elected St. Louis’ first female mayor in 2017 by pledging to work to reduce crime and improve poor neighborhoods. She and her two young children were in the car in front of their home in 1995 when her husband, Jeff, was slain during a carjacking attempt.
Homicides have spiked in recent years in St. Louis, which annually ranks among the most violent cities in the nation.