A white couple pointed guns at protesters in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday as the group marched toward Mayor Lyda Krewson's house to demand her resignation. Viral video of the incident showed the couple stepping outside of their home in the upscale Central West End neighborhood, the man carrying an automatic rifle as the woman held a pistol. They both were seen pointing the weapons at the crowd, though no shots were fired, according to local station KMOV4.
Shared thousands of times, with the terms "AR-15," "St. Louis," and "The Purge" trending on Twitter, video and images showed the couple emerging from their home as the large crowd of peaceful protesters passed by. Guns in hand, the couple screamed at the protesters, who remained on the sidewalk and continued to move forward. It is unclear if the guns were loaded.
The couple has been identified by Riverfront Times as personal injury attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They have not yet commented on the incident. An email and phone call from the Associated Press to St. Louis police were not immediately answered, and it is unclear if the department is aware of the incident, according to CBS News.
Numbering in the hundreds, the group of protesters were heading towards the home of the mayor, chanting "Resign Lyda, take the cops with you." When they arrived at their destination, they painted "RESIGN" on the street in front of Krewson's home. The demonstration came in response to Krewson's Friday Facebook Live, during which she read the names and addresses of advocates who wrote letters to the mayor urging her to defund the police. The video was eventually removed from Facebook, and Krewson issued an apology, stating that she did not “intend to cause distress.”
Krewson, however, has still faced swift backlash. St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones said that Krewson's "actions not only endanger her citizens, it is also reckless," while St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green said that her actions were "a move designed to silence dissent, and it's dangerous." In a statement, the ACLU of Missouri called Krewson's actions "shocking and misguided," stating that reading the information aloud "serves no apparent purpose beyond intimidation." Despite a petition calling for her resignation that has gained more than 40,000 signatures, a spokesperson said that she "has absolutely no intention of resigning."