KENOSHA, Wisconsin—Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen vigilante charged with murdering protesters in this city, allegedly shot one of them after they accosted him and threw a plastic bag in his direction.
The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office filed five felony charges against Rittenhouse on Thursday, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of a deadly weapon.
The big-time Blue Lives Matter fan allegedly armed himself with a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle and traveled half an hour from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday. He was photographed scrubbing graffiti off buildings earlier in the day, and told a reporter later that evening that he was acting as a civilian militia protecting businesses from being looted.
However, by midnight, he had allegedly shot two men, injured a third, and fled back home before turning himself in to police. In a statement on Thursday evening, John Pierce, an attorney for Rittenhouse, said he would be meeting with the teen’s family and appearing at a bail hearing on Friday. “We will have further public comment tomorrow,” he said. “We will obtain justice for Kyle.”
According to a criminal complaint, obtained by The Daily Beast, Rittenhouse was walking down the road alongside a reporter at about 11:45 p.m. when a protester, Joseph Rosenbaum, approached and tried to “engage” the armed teen. Rittenhouse did a “juke” move and started running away, the reporter—identified as Richard McGinnis but apparently a reference to Daily Caller reporter Richie McGinniss—told investigators.
As Rittenhouse ran across a parking lot, Rosenbaum followed him and threw an object, according to videos reviewed by investigators. “The object does not hit [Rittenhouse] and a second video shows, based on where the object landed, that it was a plastic bag,” the complaint says. “Rosenbaum appears to be unarmed for the duration of this video.”
Moments later, videos captured a loud bang and a male shouting, “Fuck you!” Another four shots were heard and Rosenbaum was seen falling to the ground.
McGinniss told investigators that he didn’t hear the pair exchange any words but he saw Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, trying to grab Rittenhouse’s gun when he was shot. Rosenbaum died from multiple gunshots that hit his right groin, left hand, left thigh, and back, perforating his right lung and liver, according to the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office.
As Rittenhouse ran away, he made a phone call and could be heard saying, “I just killed somebody,” the complaint says. Detectives later spoke to Dominic Black, a friend of Rittenhouse, who confirmed he was on the other end of the call.
Several protesters chased after Rittenhouse as he ran away, shouting things like “Beat him up!,” “Hey, he shot him!” and “Get him! Get that dude!” One man swung at Rittenhouse, knocking his hat off. Another could be heard yelling, “Get his ass!”
Rittenhouse then tripped over and, in scenes that were filmed and subsequently shared widely on social media, several people tried to grab his gun as he lay on the ground. Rittenhouse’s second alleged victim, Anthony Huber, was shot once as he tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun with one hand and swing a skateboard at the teen with his other, the complaint says.
The shot pierced his chest, perforating his heart, aorta, pulmonary artery, and right lung, according to Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office.
A third person, Gaige Grosskreutz, was then shot in the arm as he tried to approach Rittenhouse. He appeared to be holding a handgun when he was shot, the complaint says. Grosskreutz was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The killings came on the second night of fiery protests ignited by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey. Blake’s family has indicated he might be permanently paralyzed from the waist down, and his father said on Thursday that his son had been handcuffed to a bed in the hospital.
On Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he was seeking additional National Guard help from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama in hopes of taming lingering rage in the city. In addition to the murderous violence allegedly wrought by Rittenhouse, protests in recent nights had involved buildings being burned to the ground, routine tear-gassing of Black Lives Matter activists, and even allegations of cops snatching up protesters in unmarked vehicles, as federal agents were accused of doing in Portland, Oregon this summer.
Seth James, from Port Byron, IL, said he’d been in Kenosha for three days providing mutual aid in the Civic Center Park, across from the county courthouse that has been a protest locus. He told The Daily Beast he’d seen hundreds of federal troops and didn’t like his taxpayer dollars being used to quiet protesters.
He said he and others had witnessed snatch and grabs of activists by law enforcement in unmarked cars, as has been previously reported.
“We haven’t heard from some folks who were grabbed since yesterday,” he told The Daily Beast.
He said he believed Thursday’s protests would be peaceful because “it seems to be mostly locals,” a reference to local rage at everyone from Rittenhouse to rank-and-file activists making mayhem in Kenosha.
Outside the county jail, Omar Flores, a Kenosha native who lives in Milwaukee, was among a group of organizers waiting for friends to be released. Flores said his friend was locked up for a curfew violation at around 9:00 p.m. the previous night.
He, too, was concerned that three organizers were “snatched and grabbed” by agents in “black unmarked trucks without license plates” and locked up for almost 24 hours.
“It’s been impossible and frustrating to get any information about their arrests,” he said.
Just after 8 p.m., a caravan of buses arrived at the jail, escorted by police and military vehicles, filled with at least 50 troops who appeared to be National Guard soldiers outfitted in tactical gear and riot shields. Two more buses carried agents with “State Patrol” on their back, carrying M4 carbines, riot shields, and batons.
Protesters confronted troops from behind a fence and demanded water—a reference to footage of Rittenhouse and other armed civilians being given water by law enforcement officers on Tuesday night. The troops didn’t respond.