(CNN) — Protesters on their way to the residence of the mayor of St. Louis to protest walked by a private street when two people walked out of a house brandishing weapons.
Video obtained by CNN shows two people, a man with a rifle and a woman with a gun, holding their guns in front of a house in St. Louis as protesters passed, protesting against the decision of the mayor Lyda Krewson to publish the names and addresses of the persons in favor of police reform.
Two videos of eye-witness testimony obtained by CNN were taken out of the house in Portland Place, a private street near the house of Krewson, around 7:30 pm on Sunday.
Daniel Shular, a local reporter took one of the videos and said that he saw how he was developing all the incident of approximately 10 minutes. About 500 protesters were crossing Portland Place, according to Shular, to avoid road closures nearby that were blocking access to the house of the mayor.
“A door to the side of the gate to Portland Place opened up, and the protesters went through to cross the neighborhood and get to the house Krewson,” he told CNN.
It was then when, according to Shular, the man and the woman, now identified as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, came out of the house with the firearms. At a time of your video of 31 seconds, the woman pointing the gun towards the protesters.
What says the couple
“A mob of at least 100 people went through the historic wrought iron gates Portland Place, destroying them, came over to my house, where my family was eating dinner outside and we did fear for our lives,” said Mark McCloskey, 63, KMOV, an affiliate of CNN.
Property records obtained by CNN confirmed that the couple is the owner of the property. The department of streets of St. Louis confirmed to CNN that Portland Place is a private street.
“The peaceful protesters were not the object of contempt or disdain on the part of the McCloskeys,” said his attorney, Albert S. Watkins, in a statement to CNN. “On the contrary, they hoped and supported the message of the protesters. The actions of violence, destruction of property and acts of aggression threatening on the part of a few individuals that were mixed in with the peaceful protesters gave way to concern and fear of a serious imminent”.
Watkins says that his clients acted “lawfully in their property” and that “their actions were based only on fear and apprehension, whose genesis was not related to the race. In fact, the agitators responsible for the unrest were white”.
Pointed their guns against the protesters
“This is private property,” said McCloskey, in his statement to KMOV. “There are No public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would kill, they would burn our house and kill our dog. We were alone in front of a crowd enraged”.
A second video, taken during the incident by the protester Avery Risch, shows how tense was the situation. In a moment, Patricia McCloskey, age 61, was standing on the grass, closer to the demonstrators, apuntándoles with the gun.
In the videos of Shula and Risch seems that McCloskey and protesters exchanged words, but it is not clear what is being said.
“The organizers and the clergy warned actively to the people before entering the street that had a couple with firearms and if you do not feel comfortable with that, not going into the street,” said Risch to CNN. “The organizers and the clergy also encouraged the crowd and everyone not paying attention”.
The Metropolitan Police Department St. Louis told CNN that it is investigating the incident. Attorney for circuit city, Kimberly M. Gardner, told CNN in a statement that it was alarmed by the events and that his office is investigating.
“We must protect the right to peaceful protest and will not tolerate any attempt to cool it down by intimidation or threat of lethal force,” he said in his statement. “Make No mistake: we will not tolerate the use of force against those who exercise their First Amendment rights, and we will use all the power of the law of Missouri to be held accountable to the people.”
Research in motion
According to a police report, police officers responded to a “call for help” made by the pair, saying that there was a great commotion.
The police report says that the couple “observed a large group of subjects to break violently an iron gate marked with signs of ‘no trespassing’ and ‘private Street’”.
However, Shular and Risch said that they do not have to witness that to break a door.
“It seemed that the door didn’t have insurance,” said Shular to CNN. “I didn’t see anyone try to break it”.
In a video broadcast live on Facebook, the first demonstrators to enter the private road kept open the left door. That video does not show how the door was opened initially.
However, a second video of Facebook Live taken later shows the right door bent and broken on the floor.
Twenty seconds after that several protesters opened, step through the door, the video shows Mark McCloskey out of his house with a rifle and yelling at the demonstrators to leave the private road.
Once having crossed the door, (the McCloskey) informed the group that they were “in a private street and they had entered without permission and were told they were”, according to police. The couple told police that the group began yelling obscenities and threatened to harm them.
In both videos, streamed live on Facebook, there is a heated discussion, and in many moments of disrespect between the protesters and the McCloskey.
“When the victim observed multiple subjects armed, they, too, were armed, and contacted police,” the report says.
Shular told CNN that, yes, he saw some armed people on the protest, but that “no one pointed their guns at the people of the house”.
Why were manifest
The protesters who passed through Portland Place is headed to the house of the mayor Krewson, driven by the fact that she read the names and addresses of the persons seeking police reform. The names and addresses that you have read were sent as part of the public comments the Council of the County of St. Louis.
On Friday, the mayor apologized on Twitter, saying that it did not intend to harm anyone.
“I would like to apologize for identifying the people who presented me with cards today at city Hall. This was during one of my updates on Facebook when I responded to routine questions,” said Krewson in a tweet. “I never meant to harm anyone or cause distress. The update was removed and again, I apologize”.
CNN contacted the mayor of St. Louis and the organizers of the protests for the incident, but have still not received a response.
Hira Humayun of CNN contributed to this report.