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 his sister’s boyfriend Dominic Black. At around 11:45 p.m. that night, he shot Huber, Rosenbaum and Gaige Paul Grosskreutz near Car Source, a car dealership at the northwest corner of 63rd St. and Sheridan Road in Kenosha.
“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 were among the lawyers who represented 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.”
Acting as self-appointed security against rioting, Rittenhouse considered himself a militia member and he is not connected to any extremist groups. Facebook received complaints about posts praising him so searches related to him were blocked and his profile has been removed, a spokesperson for the site told Rolling Stone.
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:
- His parents Michael “Mike” Rittenhouse and Wendy Lewis Rittenhouse got married in 2000.
- In 2016, she asked for an order of protection from police for him and his younger sister McKenzie Rittenhouse. A 13-year-old bully allegedly threatened him and called him dumb and stupid. His mother later on dropped the case.
- 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. His mother filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
- 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.”
- He was 17 years old when he was arrested in Antioch on August 26, 2020. 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 faced 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.
- On October 30, 2020, he appeared in court in Lake County in Waukegan, Illinois for an extradition hearing and was extradited to Wisconsin.
- On November 2, 2020, he appeared in a virtual hearing before Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating, who set bail at $2 million for him.
- Two days after turning 18 and while out on bail on January 5, 2021, he went to Pudgy’s Pub, a sports bar in Mount Pleasant, Racine ,Wisconsin, with his mother. He drank three beers there and was serenaded by five men with the Proud Boys anthem. Earlier that day, he appeared in a virtual hearing before Keating. Represented by Mark Richards, he pleaded not guilty to seven charges stemming from the killings in Kenosha on August 25, 2020. On January 19, 2021, a judge in Wisconsin prohibited him from drinking alcohol, having any weapons and associating with any group or person known to menace others on the basis of things like race or religion, NBC News reported.
- On November 2, 2021, jurors heard opening arguments of his trial. When he testified on November 10, 2021, he broke down on recounting the events on August 25, 2020 so Judge Bruce Schroeder ordered a recess. On November 15, 2021, closing arguments were made during his trial. Schroeder dismissed the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm against him. On November 19, 2021, he was found not guilty on one count of first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. On November 23, 2021, he and his mother visited Trump at the 45th U.S. president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, USA.
(This is a developing story. More details are being added.)