Armed citizens gather in Eminence to support law enforcement, protect courthouse after credible threats

Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 9:36 PM CDT
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Armed support for law enforcement gathered around the Shannon County Courthouse Saturday after the sheriff says credible threats were made against him, his staff and county property.

Dozens or armed citizens covered downtown Eminence Saturday.

"The threats were made directly made directly to the courthouse, the jail, myself and my staff," Sheriff Darrin Brawley told KY3.

The sheriff says this all started with a local family's Facebook post, detailing their frustration about a death investigation from 2018.

The post centered around the death of Robbie Crites - whose death was determined to be an accidental drowning by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

His mother, Angela King says she made the post a week ago.

She says her intentions were not to cause an uproar.

"I wanted everybody to see what me and my family lived thorough the last two years. I wanted them to see that Darrin Brawley did everything wrong," King exclaimed.

King says a few moms from Springfield answered her post and proposed a peaceful protest at the courthouse.

But once the idea gained more controversy online King feared showing up would've been a bad idea.

"I really would've loved to have been there today. I feel kind of like I failed Robbie today because I didn't go, but in a certain sense it was for my protection," King added.

Sheriff Brawley says if protesters would've shown up, they would've been protected.

"They have the same constitutional rights as you and I have and we would uphold that. If it came down to protecting those folks, yes we would," Brawley explained.

People came from all over Missouri to show support for law enforcement and to protect property.

Mike Godwin traveled just over 100 miles from Marble Hill, Mo. to join the crowds.

"I will stay here as long as I'm needed and I feel that I'm needed and I'll come back again if I'm needed," Godwin said.

"Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. We would not mind for a protest to be here for the right causes and the right reasons, but a riot is not that," local resident Joseph Hartman told KY3.

Everything was peaceful all day long.

King says she is just doing what any mom would do.

"Just won't give up. I will not give up on Robbie. Somehow someway I will get justice for my son," King stated.

Deputies along with armed ex-military and law enforcement will stay around the courthouse Saturday night.