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St. Louis couple who flashed guns at protesters plead guilty to misdemeanors, forfeit firearms

Mark and Patricia McCloskey were charged with felonies last year after they were recorded brandishing guns at protesters and previously pleaded not guilty.

The Missouri couple who were recorded last summer brandishing firearms at protesters outside their St. Louis home pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges Thursday as part of a plea deal.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey were issued fines and ordered to forfeit the firearms they were photographed with, which will now be destroyed, according to their attorney Joel Schwartz. Prior to the hearing Thursday, the couple had pleaded not guilty and were set to go to jury trial later this year.

Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis lawyer who announced he was running for Senate last month, was charged with unlawful use of a firearm and tampering with physical evidence. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of fourth-degree assault and ordered to pay a $750 fine.

Image: A couple draws guns at protesters in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 28, 2020.
Couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey draw guns at protesters in St. Louis on June 28, 2020.Lawrence Bryant / Reuters file

Patricia McCloskey was also initially charged with the two felonies, but pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

The couple's guns were previously seized by police and they agreed to not to seek their return as part of the deal, Schwartz said. The court denied a request to donate the guns to charity.

"There's been ongoing negotiations," Schwartz said. "We came up with this resolution and the McCloskey are very happy with it and ready to move on with their lives and concentrate on his run for Senate."

Speaking from the courthouse steps after the hearing Thursday, Mark McCloskey said, “I'd do it again.”

“Any time the mob approaches me, I’ll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family,” he said.

The couple were photographed and recorded last year walking out of their home and pointing their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in the affluent St. Louis neighborhood of West Central End. Initially, police said the McCloskeys were “victims” of trespassing and assault because the protesters were accused of breaking into the gated neighborhood.

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

The McCloskeys were originally charged with unlawful use of a firearm by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in July, but a grand jury added the tampering charges in October. The indictment said a semiautomatic pistol was altered in a way that “obstructed the prosecution of Patricia McCloskey" on the weapons charge.