Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who became a national story after brandishing firearms in defense of their home against aggressive protesters, were charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon Monday for the incident.
The large group of protesters had broken down a gate to gain access to the McCloskeys' private community and the couple said that they feared for their lives.
"It was like the storming of the Bastille, the gate came down and a large crowd of angry, aggressive people poured through," Mark McCloskey said. "I was terrified that we'd be murdered within seconds. Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed."
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said of the charges:
"It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in a nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis. The decision to issue charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department."
Unlawful use of a firearm is a felony and they could face a $10,000 fine and up to four years in prison if convicted. Gardner, however, is recommending a diversion program such as community service rather than jail time.
? Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has already declared that he would pardon the couple if they are charged, saying:
"A mob does not have the right to charge your property. They had every right to protect themselves."