“I believe in my heart of hearts that the only thing that kept those mobsters, that crowd, away from us is that we were standing there with guns,” Mark McCloskey, 63, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday.
“If I was in the same situation, I’d do it all again,” the lawyer said in an interview at their mansion. “The bottom line was, I was there to protect my family and my house and myself.”
McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, told the outlet that they had prepared for violent activists — leaving fire extinguishers in every first-floor room and a rifle in the living room — after neighborhood homeowner trustees warned them that the protest group was expected to show up.
“We weren’t concerned about it until it got up to the point where the Kingshighway gate was and realized there was no security, no police, nothing to keep them from coming in,” Mark told the paper. “And then they did come in and it was a flood of people.”
He said he saw the demonstrators break a locked pedestrian gate and enter the private Portland Place – though protesters have said they walked through an unlocked gate peacefully, without damaging it, en route to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home to demand her resignation.
Mark insisted the safety mechanisms on his AR-15 and his wife’s handgun were on when they confronted the group. He declined to say if either weapon was loaded.
He said one protester called him by name and that another man kept getting closer “trying to look intimidating.”
“I’m not a mind reader but he gave every impression of being there for assault purposes and to be physically threatening,” Mark said. “It got to the point where I was concerned that I might actually have to shoot.”
Patricia said she called 911 but that cops never showed up. Her husband said he didn’t blame police because they are “underfunded, understaffed, overwhelmed.”
The couple said that while they have heard from supporters, they also have been inundated with threats.
“‘We’re gonna burn your house, this is gonna be my bedroom, my living room and bathroom after you’re dead,’” Mark cited as an example.
Meanwhile, several neighborhood residents signed a letter Wednesday in support of the demonstrators and condemning threats of violence against them, “especially through the brandishing of firearms,” the paper reported.
During the interview, the couple sat in a room with a leopard skin rug and a red fox head mounted on the wall, but Mark insisted he is not a hunter.
“I don’t kill animals but whenever trophy mounts come up for sale, somebody having killed those poor bastards and put them up for auction … I buy them and preserve them,” he told the paper.
The McCloskeys also made light of a meme that has been circulating after their encounter went viral.
“The Hamburglar … “ Mark joked.
“The Hamburglar was one of the funniest,” interjected his wife, who sparked the meme after wearing a black-and-white striped shirt that was reminiscent of an outfit worn by the character in a McDonald’s commercial.