'We were in fear for our lives'; Central West End couple seen pointing guns at protesters speaks

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A St. Louis homeowner seen pointing guns at protesters spoke to News 4 Monday, saying he and his wife were in fear for their lives when protesters came down their street.

Hundreds of protesters chanted and marched to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's home Sunday night calling for her resignation.

A group of 300 protesters, chanting "resign Lyda, take the cops with you," marched after Krewson read the names and addresses of demonstrators calling for police reform during a Friday afternoon Facebook Live video.

Iron gate damaged on Portland Place

The wrought iron gates of Portland Place were damaged on Sunday. Protesters marched to Lyda Krewson house demanding her resignation.

During the protest, a couple at a nearby home stepped outside with guns around 7:30 p.m. Images and videos showed 61-year-old Patricia McCloskey pointing a handgun at the crowd and her husband 63-year-old Mark McCloskey was seen holding a rifle. Mark and Patricia McCloskey are personal-injury lawyers who work together in the McCloskey Law Center in St. Louis.

The couple is receiving both praise and criticism online: some people are supporting them for protecting their property.

However St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said her office is investigating the incident, adding that protesters should not be met with violence. 

"I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protestors were met by guns and a violent assault. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated," Gardner tweeted.

Mark McCloskey reached out to News 4 Monday morning saying he was having dinner with his family outside of his home when the crowd went through wrought iron gates marked with "No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs on Portland Place.

"A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear for our lives," McCloskey said.

Despite his claims, video circulating on social media shows protesters opening and walking through the unbroken gate. It is unclear when it was actually damaged or who destroyed it.

"This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. I was terrified that we'd be murdered within seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob," McCloskey told News 4.

Later in the night, protesters painted "RESIGN" on the street in front of the mayor's house. 

Protesters painted RESIGN on the street in front of Krewson's house

During her Facebook Live on Friday, Krewson was asked about a meeting she had with protesters outside City Hall. Krewson grabbed submitted letters and read them, including the names and both partial and full addresses of those calling to defund the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The video has since been deleted and Krewson issued an apology later that day. A spokesperson for the mayor said she will not resign.

The names and addresses submitted are public record. For example, comments submitted to the St. Louis County Council must include names and addresses and all the information is read aloud.

St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green said in a tweet "So not cool to doxx my constituents who support #DefundThePolice on your FB live. It's a move designed to silence dissent, and it's dangerous"

The ACLU of Missouri released a statement saying what Krewson did was "shocking and misguided," saying reading the information aloud "serves no apparent purpose beyond intimidation."

Flyers on cars in Mayor Lyda Krewson neighborhood.

Flyers on cars in Mayor Lyda Krewson's neighborhood in the Central West End.

An online petition demanding Krewson’s resignation has gained more than 40,000 signatures. Those calling for her to step down say she doxed people by reading those letters, meaning she made private or identifying information public on the internet with malicious intent.

"Tonight, I would like to apologize for identifying individuals who presented letters to me at City Hall as I was answering a routine question during one of my updates earlier today. While this is public information, I did not intend to cause distress or harm to anyone," Krewson said in a statement. "The post has been removed and again, I sincerely apologize."

St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones also tweeted saying "The Mayor's actions not only endanger her citizens, it is also reckless," echoing calls for Krewson's resignation.

Alderwoman Cara Spencer, who is challenging Krewson in the Democratic primary in the 2021 mayoral election, stopped short of calling for Krewson’s resignation.

"It's a tough time to be a mayor but it's our job as elected officials to rise to the challenge," Spencer said.

News 4 reached out to the mayor for comments, but a spokesperson said the mayor in not interested in talking, saying "she’s apologized, acknowledges she made a mistake and has absolutely no intention of resigning."

If Krewson resigns, Lewis Reed, the president of the Board of Aldermen, would assume the role. 

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