Police seize rifle from St. Louis couple who pulled guns on Black Lives Matter protesters

Mark and Patricia McCloskey went viral last month after brandishing weapons at a group protesting police brutality and actions by the city's mayor.
Image: A couple draws guns at protesters in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 28, 2020.
A couple draws guns at protesters in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 28, 2020.Lawrence Bryant / Reuters

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By Minyvonne Burke

A husband and wife who were caught on video brandishing firearms at protesters outside their St. Louis home have turned their rifle over to police after a search warrant was executed.

Authorities went to Mark and Patricia McCloskey's home Friday amid an ongoing investigation into the incident.

The couple went viral last month after arming themselves with a rifle and a handgun as they confronted a group protesting police brutality and recent actions by the city's mayor.

Still images and video of the confrontation circulated throughout social media as Black Lives Matter protests took place across the country following the death of George Floyd.

In a video of the June 28 incident, Mark McCloskey is heard yelling: "Get the h--- out of my neighborhood. Private property. Get out."

The confrontation ended with no injuries or arrests.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement Saturday that detectives executed a search warrant at the home in the affluent St. Louis neighborhood of Central West End.

"Seized as evidence from the residence was a Colt, semi-automatic, .223 caliber rifle," the statement said.

The department declined to provide further details.

Attorney Joel Schwartz, who has taken over the case for the couple from another lawyer, told NBC News in a phone interview Saturday that the McCloskey's home was not searched by police and they voluntarily gave up the rifle.

The second weapon was turned over to the previous lawyer, Schwartz said.

Schwartz maintained his clients' innocence and said they are "law-abiding citizens that were well within their rights.”

The attorney said the couple does regret their actions but said they did not break any laws. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said the matter remains under investigation.

In a June statement, police described the McCloskey's as "victims" of trespassing and fourth-degree assault.

"The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street," police said. "When the victims went to investigate the commotion, they observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Street' signs."

Police said the McCloskeys told the group that they were on private property and needed to leave.

"The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims. When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police," the statement read.

Demonstrators were in the neighborhood to protest against police brutality and Mayor Lyda Krewson, a Central West End resident who had released the names and addresses of activists who want to defund the police. Krewson has since apologized.

Daniel Shular, a freelance photojournalist who was at the protest, previously told NBC News that he did not see anyone break the gate leading to the neighborhood and recalled seeing people simply walk through an open gate.

"I kind of turned around to take some pictures of people coming through the gate, then I turned back around and by then he had his long gun in his hand," he said. "And the woman came out with a pistol and started pointing it with her finger on the trigger at everybody."

Shular said he saw at least one armed protester but said it's "not super out of the ordinary for the protests here."

Albert Watkins, the previous attorney for the McCloskeys, said last month that his clients are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and became fearful because white protesters were acting aggressively.

It's unclear why the McCloskeys switched attorneys.