'The only thing that stopped the crowd was my rifle' | Interview with man who pulled out gun amid protest
Mark McCloskey gave his first on-camera interview to 5 On Your Side anchor Anne Allred
Author: Anne Allred
Published: 1:17 PM CDT June 29, 2020
Updated: 3:56 PM CDT June 29, 2020
ST. LOUIS — It’s an encounter that’s gained national attention and it happened in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey live in a neighborhood with million-dollar homes. The entire neighborhood is privately owned and managed, which means the entire street is considered private property.
The couple has been seen across social media in what are now viral photos – which show them pointing guns at protesters.
Anne Allred: Tell me what happened last night.
Mark McCloskey: We came back to the house. I don't know what time it is, I've been up ever since. I'm a little, I'm a little blurry, but we were preparing dinner. We went out to the east patio, open porch that faces Kingshighway on one side and Portland Place Drive on the south, and we're sitting down for dinner. We heard all this stuff going on down on Maryland Plaza. And then the mob started to move up Kingshighway, but it got parallel with the Kingshighway gate on Portland Place.
Somebody forced the gate, and I stood up and announced that this is private property. Go back. I can't remember in detail anymore. I went inside, I got a rifle. And when they … because as soon as I said this is private property, those words enraged the crowd. Horde, absolute horde came through the now smashed down gates coming right at the house. My house, my east patio was 40 feet from Portland Place Drive. And these people were right up in my face, scared to death. And then, I stood out there. The only thing we said is this is private property. Go back. Private property. Leave now.
At that point, everybody got enraged. There were people wearing body armor. One person pulled out some loaded pistol magazine and clicked them together and said that you were next. We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog's life being threatened. It was, it was about as bad as it can get. I mean, those you know, I really thought it was Storming the Bastille that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd. And they were they broken the gate were coming at us.
Allred: There have been some reports on Twitter and people who say they were there. It says they are saying the gate was already broken.
McCloskey: Yes. That is nonsense. Absolute nonsense. The gate was up, broken. The gate was broken physically in half. Our trustees on Portland Place came out later in the night and chained it all up with an automotive tow chain it looks like. But no, you can talk to the trustees on Portland Place. The gate was not broken in half and laying on the ground one second before they came in the storm.
Allred: Were the protesters on your private property at any point?
McCloskey: Everything inside the Portland Place gate is private property. There is nothing public in Portland Place. Being inside that gate is like being in my living room. There is no public anything in Portland Place. It is all private property. And you've got to appreciate that if there are two or three hundred people, I don't know how many there were. We were told that 500 people showed up at the Lyda Krewson house, which is not on our street, as you know. But how many of them came through Portland Place? I don't know. But it was a big crowd and they were aggressive, wearing body armor and screaming at us and threatening to harm us. And how they were going to be living in our house after they kill us.