ST. LOUIS -- As protesters made their way to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's home on Sunday night, demanding her resignation, they marched and shouted along private Portland Place. They were met by a couple pointing guns and telling protesters to get away.
Protesters chanted to a drumbeat of "Let's go!" Hundreds of them filed by. The couple, Mark T. and Patricia N. McCloskey, stood outside with weapons. They are personal injury lawyers who work together in The McCloskey Law Center and own a million-dollar home.
"Private property!" Mark McCloskey shouted repeatedly at the crowd, as he held a rifle. "Get out! Private property, get out!" Patricia McCloskey pointed a small handgun.
Someone in the crowd replied, "Calm down." A woman protester yelled, "Then call the (expletive) cops, you idiot!" and "It's a public street (expletive)."
The Post-Dispatch photographed the exchange. A video on Twitter had been viewed more than 10 million times by Monday morning. President Donald Trump retweeted an ABC News account of the confrontation.
The couple's renovation of their storied Renaissance palazzo mansion on Portland Place was featured in St. Louis Magazine. City records show the property is appraised at $1.15 million. The couple could not be reached Monday morning to talk about the incident. The windows at the couple's law firm were boarded up; no one responded to a knock on the door of their home.
To access Portland Place, the crowd entered through an iron pedestrian gate. The McCloskeys told police the protesters broke the gate to get in.
St. Louis police said the couple had called police for help once they saw the large crowd enter Portland Place. The McCloskeys had been at home and heard a loud commotion coming from the street; they went to investigate and saw "a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Street' signs," police said.
"The group began yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims," police said. "When the victims observed multiple subjects who were armed, they then armed themselves and contacted police."
The crowd of protesters eventually moved on and arrived at Krewson's home on Lake Avenue a block away.