ST. LOUIS — The couple who pointed guns at protesters Sunday in the city’s Central West End told police they did so after protesters, some of them armed and wearing bullet-resistant vests, yelled obscenities at them and threatened to harm them.
One man banged rifle magazines together yelling, “These are for you,” 5 On Your Side has learned.
The couple told police that they were eating dinner on their patio when they heard noise coming from the street, police sources told 5 On Your Side.
When they went outside to see what was happening, they told police that they saw a group of people breaking an iron gate that was marked with signs that read: “No Trespassing” and “Private Street.”
Once through the gate, the couple told police that they warned the protesters that they were on a private street and trespassing and told them to leave.
The couple told police some of the protesters were standing on their property and started yelling obscenities and “we’re coming back,” and “you’re next,” according to the sources.
The couple said they feared for their safety, armed themselves and called police.
Police sources also say several surveillance cameras that monitor the neighborhood were spray painted and had their wiring pulled out during the demonstration.
Reverend Darryl Gray told 5 on Your Side's Morgan Young that the couple is lying.
"It is blatant lies the cover their tracks," he said. "There was never a threat to his property. There was never a threat to his home, and, had they not come out, the protesters would have continued on at a quick pace to get to the mayor's house."
Gray said protesters were not armed.
"At no time did I observe any of our people carrying weapons of any sort. At no time did any of our people rush at the occupants or even set foot on the property."
Another protest organizer, Ohun Ashe, also disputed the couple's narrative. They noted the protesters had walked through other neighborhoods and past businesses on their way to the mayor's house, but this was the only place where they were met with guns.
"I don't think when they looked out on a crowd of people that they just saw humans, I think they saw stereotypes," she said. "I don't know if they got it from family, friends, media, news or wherever they got the image from, but it is a problem when you do not see humanity in an entire crowd of people, when you can get an entire crowd and point a gun at them, you no longer see that humanity and it's a when you're that disconnected.
"We should not be living in a country where we are willing to risk the lives of people who are not attacking, who are not violent, who are not threatening because they are walking down a street."
The protest was in response to a recent Facebook briefing Mayor Lyda Krewson gave on the status of the city’s jail, known as The Workhouse.
Protesters are calling for it to be shut down. In the Facebook video, Krewson read aloud the names and addresses of people who wrote to her urging her to defund The Workhouse.
Names and addresses of people who submit comments to elected officials are accessible to the public, but some argue that the mayor’s decision to share the personal information during her live stream was an intimidation tactic.
Krewson has since removed the post and apologized for reading the names and addresses.