St. Louis police on Friday seized a gun at the home of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who were photographed outside their home pointing weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters in an image that went viral. Police said they were executing a search warrant when they seized a semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle, which matches the description of the weapon Mark McCloskey was seen holding.
St. Louis Police Sergeant Keith Barrett said the weapon was seized as part of the investigation into the viral incident from June 28. Barnett did not name the McCloskeys, but the warrant was executed at their address.
Attorney Al Watkins, who previously represented the couple, told reporters outside the courthouse Saturday that he was also turning over the hand gun Patricia McCloskey pointed at protesters, CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV reported. He said he was in possession of the gun to make sure it wasn’t tampered with. He also claimed the gun doesn’t work and that Patricia McCloskey knew that at the time of the protest.
Joel Schwartz, an attorney who currently represents the couple, told KMOV-TV the McCloskeys are being used as a “political football.”
“I think we need to remove all outside noise and look at the facts of the case and look at the law of the Castle Doctrine,” Schwartz said. “The Castle Doctrine states you have the right to defend your property in a manner that was reasonable and its clear to me that they did.”
According to the police report, the couple had called for help at the residence the night of the incident, with the couple saying they heard a loud commotion outside. Police said when the couple went to investigate the commotion, they claimed they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs. They told police they armed themselves after they saw multiple people in the group who were armed, and said the group yelled obscenities and threats at them.
Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV immediately after the incident that he and his wife, who are both lawyers, were facing an “angry mob” on their private street and feared for their lives after their gate had been destroyed.
But video circulating on social media showed protesters opening and walking through the unbroken gate. It is unclear when it was actually damaged or who destroyed it, KMOV reported.
Rasheen Aldridge helped lead the protest, which was organized by a group called “Expect Us.” He said protesters were peaceful and no threats were ever made. The group was marching to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house after she read the names and addresses of several residents who had written letters calling for defunding the police department during a Facebook Live broadcast.
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