Teen arrested for homicide in Kenosha protest shooting; feds coming to Wisconsin
KENOSHA, Wis. (WBAY) - A teenager has been arrested in connection to a fatal shooting during protests in Kenosha Tuesday night as the city prepares for federal law enforcement and National Guard troops to respond to help combat violence after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Police say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested in Antioch, Ill. on a charge of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide. Antioch Police say the teen is an Antioch resident. He’s been held pending an extradition to Wisconsin. Antioch is located about 20 miles southwest of Kenosha.
Three people were shot Tuesday night in the area of 63rd Street and Sheridan Road. Two people died. Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said Wednesday that he did not know if Rittenhouse was responsible for all three shootings. Videos on social media appear to show Rittenhouse carrying a gun and opening fire. Video appears to show him being chased down by someone in the crowd. Rittenhouse gets up and walks away toward oncoming law enforcement vehicles. No officers stop him.
The police chief said he did not know if Rittenhouse was part of a self-styled “militia” that had showed up armed to the demonstrations. The chief said he did not know if the group was an organized militia or individual armed citizens. Kenosha officials said they didn’t know why officers failed to stop Rittenhouse, saying noise and chaos at the scene could be a reason for them not acting.
“A 17-year-old individual was involved in the use of firearms to resolve whatever conflict was in place. The result of it is two people are dead,” said Miskinis. A Silver Lake resident and a Kenosha resident were killed. A West Allis resident survived. Police did not identify the victims.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth described them as a “vigilante group.”
“Part of the problem with this group is they create confrontation,” says Sheriff Beth.
“There was apparently a citizens’ brigade that decided they wanted to rally up the American patriots, if you want to call them, and come armed to Kenosha to protect our city,” says Kenosha County Supervisor Andy Berg. “We didn’t ask them to come here. We don’t need them here. As was the result of last night is what you saw.”
Antioch Interim Police Chief Geoff Guttscho says Rittenhouse surrendered himself to the Antioch Police Department overnight. He’s in the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center on a Fugitive from Justice charge for the purpose of extraditing him to Wisconsin.
“I want to be very clear: we should not tolerate violence against any person. I’m grateful there has already been swift action to arrest one person involved. The individual or individuals whose actions resulted in this tragic loss of life must be held accountable,” reads a statement from Gov. Tony Evers. “A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again. I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night. I also ask the individuals who are not there to exercise those rights to please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement, and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump says his team has spoken to Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and federal law enforcement and National Guard will be deployed to Kenosha.
“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)...,” President Trump tweeted. “...TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”
On Tuesday, Gov. Evers authorized an additional 125 Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist local first responders. Evers declared a State of Emergency amid protests across the state in response to property damage and other crimes during the protests.
On Wednesday, Evers announced he had authorized 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to respond to the city tonight.
“The governor is continuing to work with other states in facilitating additional National Guard and state patrol support,” reads a statement from the governor’s administration.
Kenosha’s mayor, police chief and sheriff said state and federal authorities have been involved and supportive.
“Gov. Evers has been very supportive to the community and everybody needs to know that,” said Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. “The FBI is here, ATF is here and U.S. Marshals are here. This has been an activity where everybody has been involved.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) is one of the voices who called for “enhanced federal support” for law enforcement in Kenosha. He said he was glad Evers accepted the federal assistance.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) had also pushed for Evers to accept the federal assistance.
“It is a tragedy that two people had to lose their lives before Gov. Evers was willing to set aside politics and accept President Trump’s help to restore order in Kenosha. Violence and chaos like we’ve seen the last three nights do nothing to advance justice, and they drown out the voices of those protesting peacefully. Going forward, our focus should be on healing – for Jacob Blake, for the lives turned upside down in the rioting, and for the community of Kenosha,” reads a statement from Johnson and U.S. Rep Bryan Steil (Wisconsin).
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said, “The vandalism, armed militia, gun violence and fatal shootings in Kenosha are not advancing the cause of racial justice in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Elected officials at the state and federal level must answer the call of peaceful protests and take action to bring about the change we need.
“I support Governor Evers’ approach to providing more National Guard support for local law enforcement to help provide safety for the community and I stand with the courage, grace and wisdom of Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, in her call for healing and peace. She has shown us the way forward. Systemic racism has plagued our state and country for far too long and we all need to work together in a united way to confront it by moving racial justice forward in Wisconsin and America.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed the shooting and emphasized Blake’s mother’s words that violence does not reflect her or her family. “I spoke to Jacob’s mom and dad, sister and other members of the family, just a little bit earlier, and I told them ‘justice must and will be done.’ Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary, but burning down communities is not protest. It’s needless violence,” said Biden.
“Kenosha’s a community that in the long run will recover,” said Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. " We will work with the minority community to continue to move forward. And we will make this a better place to live.”
Tuesday night, protesters defied a curfew and orders to leave Civic Center Park. Reporters at the scene say protesters fired fireworks at law enforcement and tried to pull down a barricade put around the county courthouse. Law enforcement responded with tear gas and what appeared to be pepper balls.
WISN reporter Ben Wagner was covering the situation on Sheridan Road Tuesday night as demonstrators squared off with police.
Jacob Blake’s family attorney says Blake is paralyzed and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, speaking alongside family members of Blake, said the 29-year-old was in surgery after being shot on Sunday night multiple times.
“They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn’t matter,” said Blake’s father, who is also named Jacob Blake. “But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
Another family attorney said they would be filing a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting.
Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, called for calm and said her son would not be happy about the violence in Kenosha. “As I pray for my son, healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country,” Jackson said.
Video of the shooting of Jacob Blake was captured on cell phone video and shared on Facebook Sunday evening. The Kenosha Police Department says they were called for a “domestic incident.”
The video shows officers with guns drawn following Blake as he approaches his vehicle. Blake reaches into the SUV and a white officer pulls on Blake’s shirt and fires multiple times from behind. At least seven gun shots are heard in the video. Police have not said how many shots were fired or if both officers fired their weapons.
A video shared with the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom appears to show Blake struggling with officers prior to the moment he walked away from them.
Crump says Blake’s three sons, ages 8, 5 and 3, were in the vehicle when he was shot. Crump says Blake was “helping to de-escalate” the domestic incident when “police drew their weapons and tasered him.”
“As he was walking away to check on his children, police fired their weapons several times into his back at point blank range. Blake’s three sons were only a few feet away and witnessed police shoot their father,” Crump says.
Crump represents the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, each killed by police.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave. That’s protocol in Wisconsin officer-involved shooting investigations.
Kenosha’s Police Chief says he doesn’t know what happened during the shooting because he was not at the scene. He stressed that the state is in control of collective evidence and interviews and conducting the investigation.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is vigorously and thoroughly investigating yesterday’s officer-involved shooting in Kenosha. As with all investigations we conduct, we will unwaveringly pursue justice in this case,” says Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. “I hope for a full recovery for the man fighting for his life. He and his family are in my thoughts, as is the entire Kenosha community.
“In most cases, including this case, Wisconsin state law grants primary prosecutorial authority to the district attorney, who decides whether to file charges. We will work closely with the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office throughout this case.”
Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos lobbed criticism at Gov. Evers Wednesday morning, tweeting “I can’t fathom how Gov Evers is literally allowing Kenosha to burn because he doesn’t want to offend the hard-left protestors [sic].”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said Monday, “We believe in justice, and therefore justice means for everyone. And that is one of the reasons that we’re here is to make sure that everyone understands what occurred the other day is something that we will hold the police and the public responsible. Everyone is responsible for our own actions, and the investigation of the police department will go forward.”
In July, an arrest warrant and charges were filed against Jacob Blake for 3rd Degree Sexual Assault, Criminal Trespass, and Disorderly Conduct. All three have domestic abuse modifiers. It is unclear if that case has anything to do with what happened Sunday.
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