EXCLUSIVE: The St. Louis man who went viral last summer after he and his wife stood an armed vigil on their front lawn as Black Lives Matter protesters marched through their gated community is praising the Kentucky diner seen holding a pistol as shouting demonstrators surrounded him outside a restaurant Saturday.
"He’s got my tremendous respect," Mark McCloskey told Fox News Wednesday afternoon. "I’ve been saying for 10 months now that that’s what everybody needs to do. They’ve got to stand up for their rights and not get bullied – and that’s what the Second Amendment is there for."
Video of the Louisville standoff shows a group of armed protesters, some of them carrying rifles and wearing tactical vests and holstered handguns, arguing with two diners, also armed. It happened in a tense confrontation outside La Chasse, an upscale European-style restaurant, shortly after the Kentucky Derby.
"I think if you’re sitting there having a nice lunch and people storm in, and they’re armed, you’ve got every right to stand up and defend yourself," McCloskey said.
A La Chasse employee called 911 Saturday to report that multiple armed protesters had entered the restaurant’s property, police said.
Videos of the incident show a white-haired man holding a pistol across from demonstrators during an altercation. Numerous other people appear to be carrying firearms, including several in tactical vests seen trading words with the diner.
And a female demonstrator can be seen directing others to move away down the block before tensions cool down – while wearing a pink pistol holstered at her hip.
A shortened video of the encounter, which does not show as much of the armed protesters, their rifles or the second diner’s handgun, went viral on Twitter.
In the longer video, the diner is seen standing across from three White men carrying long guns. At least two of them are wearing tactical vests and holstered pistols. Little of their conversation can be heard over the shouting.
It was not immediately clear what led to the standoff. A Louisville police spokeswoman told Fox News Tuesday that both "patrons and protesters brandished firearms," but the department did not respond to requests for more information. No injuries were reported.
One of the diners declined to comment for this story, and the other did not immediately respond to Fox News.
Images of the standoff immediately drew comparisons to the McCloskey incident in suburban St. Louis.
McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, went viral last summer after a mob of BLM protesters smashed through the iron gate to their private community and swarmed inside, ignoring the "No Trespassing" sign.
Both of them are personal injury attorneys in their 60s. They armed themselves, went into their front yard and told protesters to get off of their private property in what they have maintained was self-defense.
St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner later charged them both with unlawful use of a weapon.
A judge subsequently stripped the case away from Gardner’s office and placed it in the hands of a special prosecutor over an apparent conflict of interest. Then on Wednesday, news emerged that she would be facing a disciplinary hearing for alleged misconduct in 2019 during a probe into former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. She is at risk of losing her law license.
The McCloskeys are scheduled to go to trial in November.
They have offered their support and advice to the diners seen in the Louisville incident after dealing with cancel culture and mob threats themselves.
"Boy, that guy’s a champion," McCloskey said. "He's got a heck of a lot of courage, and I wish everybody else in the country would stand up and not take it sitting down."
He said he worried that the government is no longer protecting citizens from violent protests – nor is the mainstream media.
"The media mob will kill you if the armed mob does not," he said.