“It seemed apparent they have a very limited knowledge of firearms safety and firearms handling,” said Charles Stephenson, a former FBI Agent and firearms instructor.
Stephenson said that although husband Mark McCloskey wisely kept his finger off the trigger of his AR-15-style rifle, wife Patricia McCloskey took no such precaution as she wielded a silver-colored handgun.
“The female had it kind of limp-wristed and it seemed she was actually pointing it at the individuals in the street,” he said.
“To actually point the barrel of a weapon at somebody with your finger on the trigger…could have had a very disastrous result.”
Stephenson, who runs the Orion Group private investigations agency in Overland Park, Kansas, also noted that Mark McCloskey’s rifle was presumably loaded with high-powered ammunition that can “travel a mile away” and penetrate buildings.
Instead of holding the weapon level, as Mark McCloskey did, “I would have it pointed to the ground or up in the air with my hand on the pistol grip,” he added.
David Lombardo, president of SAFER USA, a firearms training school in Chicago, said that “I can see the desire for a middle-aged couple to be armed” but noted that “nobody actually approached them” during the Sunday night standoff.
“The part that I would be concerned about is pointing a gun at somebody,” he said.
“You can’t shoot somebody over a property crime. If you don’t feel your life is in danger, you really shouldn’t be pointing a gun at someone.”
Lombardo — who also works as a firearms consultant and expert witness — further questioned the wisdom of the confrontation, saying, “That’s a pretty scary situation and people don’t always think as they should.”
The incident unfolded as protesters passed by the McCloskeys’ “Midwestern palazzo” mansion in a gated community on their way to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson to demand her resignation for releasing the names and addresses of residents who favor de-funding the St. Louis Police Department.
Mark McCloskey, a lawyer, defended his actions Monday during an interview with a local TV station, saying “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,” he told NBC affiliate KDSK.
“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.”