Demonstrators knocked on the front door of L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey at 5:40 a.m. PT when a man they identified as her husband David Lacey opened and pointed a weapon, according to Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State Los Angeles, and protest organizer Justin Marks.
"We heard the gun cocking, and I thought I was being paranoid," Abdullah told NBC News. "But then he opened the door, leading with the gun. He saw me and lowered it, pointing it at my chest."
Marks said he too heard the weapon being locked into firing position on the other side of the door, at Lacey's home in the Granada Hills neighborhood of northwest L.A.
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FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17: Tear gas rains down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air after a demonstration over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his August 9, death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Police force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: A demonstrator protesting the killings of 18-year-olds Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri Police officer and Vonderrit Myers Jr. by an off duty St. Louis police officer gets help after being maced by police on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area has been struggling to heal since riots erupted in suburban Ferguson following Brown's death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 3: A demonstrator cries while gathering in Philadelphia to protest the Eric Garner grand jury decision during a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at City Hall December 3, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Organizers called for the demonstration after a grand jury in the Staten Island borough of New York City declined to indict the police officer who used a chokehold on Garner, resulting in his death. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
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A police officer stands over activists, demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner, as they stage a 'die-in' during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in the Manhattan borough of New York on December 3, 2014. A New York City grand jury on Wednesday returned no indictment against a white police officer who used a chokehold on an unarmed black man who died as police tried to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes, local media reported. The grand jury in the city's borough of Staten Island decided against criminal charges for New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The deadly encounter on July 17 was captured on a video that quickly spread over the Internet and helped fuel debates about how U.S. police use force, particularly against minorities. REUTERS/Adrees Latif (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TRANSPORT)
A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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"I thought it was someone dropping keys and Melina said, 'Well that doesn't sound good,'" Marks said. "There was no hello, no face, just a gun pointing out (when the door opened)."
Organizers who were there to protest the D.A. office's handling of certain cases said the home is outfitted with security cameras and anyone inside could have easily seen the 30 protesters outside.
"I said, 'Jackie Lacey has promised us a community meeting. We're having it now. Could you please ask her to come out front?'" said Abdullah, who tweeted video of the early-morning confrontation.
The armed man then ordered protesters to get off his porch, witnesses said.
"We don't know how crazy he is, we didn't know if he'd actually shoot me so we did" back up, Abdullah said. "I’m a mother of three kids and I really don’t want to get to shot."
A Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman confirmed there was a call for service to the block of Lacey's listed address at 5:40 a.m. on Monday. But there were no immediate reports of a weapon being brandished, only an ongoing protest at that location, the LAPD said.
A rep for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.
Lacey, L.A. County's first black district attorney who is running for re-election, has been the target of regular protests, usually in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A., over the office's handling of high-profile cases.
The office did not prosecute police officers who fatally shot unarmed black man Ezell Ford in 2014. Critics have also accused Lacey of moving too slowly against Democratic Party donor Ed Buck, who is now being prosecuted by federal authorities for allegedly supplying illegal drugs that led to the deaths of two black men.
Andrew Blankstein reported from Los Angeles, while David K. Li and Mohammed Syed reported from New York