Grand jury indicts gun-waving couple


Grand jury indicts gun-waving St. Louis couple on gun, tampering charges

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis grand jury on Tuesday handed down indictments against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, charged in July with brandishing weapons at protesters outside the couple’s Portland Place mansion.

The couple was indicted on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. The indictments were filed under seal Tuesday. St. Louis Circuit Clerk Thomas Kloeppinger said a judge ordered the indictments suppressed but Kloeppinger didn’t know the reason.

The grand jury added a count of evidence tampering after the Circuit Attorney’s Office in July charged the McCloskeys each with one count of unlawful use of a weapon — exhibiting.

A spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner could not be reached Tuesday.

The McCloskeys’ lawyer Joel Schwartz said he didn’t know specifics about the charges but said he’s not surprised a grand jury indicted his clients.

“I’ll certainly be interested in what was presented to the grand jury,” said Schwartz, who plans to request a transcript or recording of the proceedings, if such records were made.

Since their encounter with protesters this summer, the couple has gained national notoriety through appearances on Fox News and CNN, and by speaking at the Republican National Convention in August.

Earlier Tuesday, a St. Louis judge postponed the McCloskeys’ morning court appearance until next Wednesday.

The charges filed in July say that on June 28, Mark McCloskey, 63, pointed an AR-15 rifle at protesters and Patricia McCloskey, 61, wielded a semiautomatic handgun, placing protesters in fear of injury.

Outside the Carnahan Courthouse on Tuesday, Mark McCloskey criticized the City Counselor’s Office for opting against prosecuting protesters for trespassing in Portland Place, a private, gated street. Nine protesters were initially served police summonses, but City Counselor Michael Garvin said on Sept. 29 that trespassing charges would not be pursued.

“The government chooses to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our right to defend ourselves, our home, our property and our family and now we’re getting drug here time after time after time and for what?” Mark McCloskey said. “We didn’t fire a shot. People were violently protesting in front of our house and screaming death threats and threats of rape and threats of arson. Nobody gets charged but we get charged.”

The McCloskeys have repeatedly called protesters outside their Central West End home “violent,” though there has been no evidence of violence by protesters that day.

A gate leading to Portland Place was damaged at some point, though protesters have denied breaking it. Video from the scene showed protesters walking through an apparently undamaged gate.

Mark McCloskey then pivoted Tuesday to national politics in an attempt to connect Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to the couple’s prosecution.

Gov. Mike Parson has said he’ll pardon the couple if they are convicted; Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

Updated at 7 p.m. Tuesday with more information.

The couple was indicted on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. The indictments were filed under seal Tuesday.

Mark McCloskey and his attorney Joel Schwartz speak to the press outside the Carnahan Courthouse after a court appearance on Tuesday, Oct. 6, …

The nine had been issued police summonses earlier this month, but City Counselor Michael Garvin said in a statement that “prosecution is not w…

The police department confirmed it issued citations to nine people but declined to identify them, citing provisions of the state Sunshine Law …

“This is their way of just trying to get attention, trying to get some notoriety,” Bush said Tuesday about the McCloskeys, the St. Louis coupl…

“We have a God-given right to defend ourselves, and the right of self-defense is one of the most basic civil rights, one of the most basic hum…

Gardner, a Democrat, filed a motion Friday to strike the Republican attorney general’s controversial decision to ask that gun charges be dismi…

The McCloskeys are now forever associated with the latest trend in Republican politics, to find a wedge issue so outrageous that it must be em…

He said his controversial decision to seek to have gun charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey dismissed is rooted in the state’s long-hel…

They each face a single felony count of unlawful use of a weapon — exhibiting. Charging documents say he pointed an AR-15 rifle at protesters …

Did the McCloskeys stand their ground or commit a crime? State law suggests the latter. But white, rich people enjoy their own justice system.

The McCloskeys have a legal right to own guns. But their front-porch armed defense demonstrated an appalling ignorance of basic gun safety.

Parson also raised eyebrows by saying he would probably pardon the couple if they were to be convicted of crimes.

“Targeting law-abiding citizens who exercise constitutionally protected rights … is an abuse of power,” the U.S. senator said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says that the city’s prosecutor is attempting to take the McCloskey’s rights away, and that he has spoken with Presi…

Parson said he spoke with President Donald Trump about the situation.

Public records and interviews show Mark and Patricia McCloskey are almost always in conflict with somebody, often concerning property rights.

Police served a search warrant Friday and seized the rifle that Mark McCloskey had brandished that evening.

A closer look at the confrontation on June 28, 2020 between Mark and Patricia McCloskey and protesters in front of their house. Video by Jerem…

The gate to Portland Place remained locked, and protesters eventually marched south on Kingshighway toward the highway.

In 2017, the McCloskeys sued to defend a sliver of property that they claim as their own and Portland Place trustees say belongs to the neighborhood.

‘I believe … the only thing that kept those mobsters, that crowd, away from us is that we were standing there with guns,’ Mark McCloskey said.

One protester who witnessed the showdown told the Post-Dispatch that marchers took notice of the McCloskeys only when the couple emerged from …

“They are owned by the property owners, and the owners pay for them, the street repairs and maintenance,” Bush said Monday.

Were the couple, as they stood on their own property, within their rights to point weapons at protesters? Gun rights advocates say yes. A poli…

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