Illinois teen charged with homicide in Kenosha protest shootings
LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a 17-year-old from Illinois in the fatal shooting of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the wounding of a third.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley filed the charges against Kyle Rittenhouse Thursday afternoon.
The charges include one count of first-degree intentional homicide; one count of first-degree reckless homicide; one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide; two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. All those charges are felonies.
He could face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious crime in Wisconsin. The reckless homicide charge carries up to 60 years in prison.
Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.
He’s also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, a misdemeanor.
The two men who were killed were Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, about 15 miles west of Kenosha. A third man was injured. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was volunteering as a medic when he was shot, according to Bethany Crevensten who was also among the group of about two dozen activists.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News, based on videos and witness interviews, Rosenbaum, who appears to be unarmed, tried to engage Rittenhouse and followed him through a parking lot. Rosenbaum threw something at Rittenhouse -- the complaint says it was apparently a plastic bag -- and tries to grab the barrel of the boy’s rifle. A reporter who was behind Rosenbaum says Rittenhouse pulled away and raised his gun. Four loud bangs are heard and Rosenbaum goes down.
A reporter who was behind Rosenbaum began rendering aid. Rittenhouse then got on his phone and told a friend, “I just killed somebody.” The reporter says other people began moving very quickly toward Rittenhouse after the shooting and he heard more shots.
The complaint cites other videos at that point with people shouting “Hey, he shot him!”, “Beat him up!”, “Get that dude!” One man is seen swinging a punch at the teen, knocking his hat off. Rittenhouse continues to run, then trips. Two more shots seem to miss a pursuer but scared him off. Anthony Huber then appears in a video. He hits Rittenhouse with his skateboard and tries to pull the gun away from him. Rittenhouse fired one, fatal shot into his chest.
Gaige Grosskreutz, who was approaching Rittenhouse, ducked and took a step back and put his hands in the air. Grosskreutz appeared to be holding a gun in his right hand. He moved toward the boy and Rittenhouse fired a shot, hitting Grosskreutz in the right arm.
As we’ve reported, videos on social media show Rittenhouse walking toward oncoming law enforcement vehicles. No officers stopped him.
He turned himself in to police in his hometown of Antioch, Ill. early Wednesday morning.
Prior to the shooting, Rittenhouse spoke with The Daily Caller. He told them, “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 -- because I can protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
Rittenhouse also said he was pepper sprayed by someone in the crowd.
“So you had a non-lethal but you didn’t respond?” the interviewer asked.
“We don’t have non-lethal,” Rittenhouse answered.
“So you guys are full on ready to defend the property?”
“Yes we are,” Rittenhouse said.
At a news conference with the governor in Kenosha on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said, “What do you think is going to happen when you have a person walking down the street with a long-arm rifle thinking of themselves as a peacekeeper? We have to deal with the devastating results of that.”
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. WBAY contributed to this report. All rights reserved.