Kyle Howard Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, United States was a minor when he fatally shot Anthony M. Huber and Joseph D. Rosenbaum in Wisconsin, USA, an open-carry state. The three were in the same Black Lives Matter demonstration where protesters were demanding justice for Jacob Blake.
On August 23, 2020, Kenosha Police Department officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake in the back at least eight times in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse walked the streets of Kenosha with other armed civilians who wanted to protect businesses from vandalism.
Wearing a green T-shirt, a backward baseball cap, blue gloves, dark blue jeans and brown shoes, Rittenhouse carried a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle, which belonged to a friend from Wisconsin. At around 11:45 p.m. that night, he opened fire near Car Source, a car dealership at the northwest corner of 63rd St. and Sheridan Road in Kenosha, which killed Huber and Rosenbaum and wounded another protester named Gaige Paul Grosskreutz.
“I just killed somebody,” Rittenhouse was heard saying during a cellphone call at 11:46 p.m. Still carrying his rifle, he approached police vehicles with his hands up after shooting but the officers did not stop him.
John Pierce, Lin Wood and Jennifer Snyder are among the lawyers representing Rittenhouse. Pierce told CNN that it was “classic self-defense” while Wood told WPVI-TV that “Americans should never be deterred from exercising their right of self-defense.”
Facebook received complaints about posts praising Rittenhouse so searches related to him were blocked by the social media site. A spokesperson for the site told Rolling Stone that his profile has been removed.
On August 28, 2020, fundraising site GiveSendGo said it has raised more than $100,000 for Rittenhouse’s defense. Here are 13 more facts about him:
- Born in January 2003, he is the son of Wendy Lewis Rittenhouse, a single mother and a Libertyville Manor nursing assistant who filed for bankruptcy in 2018. She was born in 1975.
- In 2016, his mother asked for an order of protection from police for him and his sister McKenzie Rittenhouse, born in 2001. The mother later on dropped the case after accusing a 13-year-old bully of threatening his son and calling him dumb and stupid.
- In 2017, he participated in the Grayslake-Lindenhurst-Hainesville Public Safety Cadet program run by local police departments training aspiring police officers aged 14 to 21 in the basics of law enforcement.
- He dropped out of high school during the 2017-2018 school year.
- Acting as self-appointed security against rioting, he considered himself a militia member. He is not connected to any extremist groups.
- On July 1, 2020, he was caught on tape punching a female in a fight in Kenosha. It was recorded by Kenosha residents Reese Granville and CJ Wakefield.
- On August 19, 2020, a case was filed against him for operating without a valid license and for speeding 20-24 mph over the speed limit in Kenosha County.
- On August 25, 2020, before going to the Black Lives Matter rally in Kenosha carrying a rifle, he was one of the volunteers who cleaned graffiti from a high school near the Kenosha County Courthouse.
- In an interview with Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze before the shooting, he said he was there to protect property.
- In an interview with Daily Caller reporter Richard McGinnis before the shooting, he said, “People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business and part of my job is to also help people. If there is somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle.”
- On August 26, 2020, he was arrested in Antioch.
- He was charged as an adult with five felonies in the death of Rosenbaum and Huber, the shooting of Grosskreutz and recklessly endangering the safety of two other victims. He is facing one count of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of first-degree reckless homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment as well as a misdemeanor, which is possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18.
- Donald Trump defended him saying he was “trying to get away” from protesters who “violently attacked him” during the demonstration in Kenosha, USA Today quoted the 45th U.S. president as saying during a press conference on August 31, 2020.