- A spokesman for Gun Owners of America told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the organization believes Kyle Rittenhouse was “forced to fire in self-defense” the night he shot three people, killing two of them, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
- Rice said Rittenhouse appeared to have been trained and handled the situation with discipline and precision.
- The teenager’s lawyer denies the claim that Rittenhouse was a vigilante and that he was in possession of an illegal firearm.
A spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a prominent Second Amendment group, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week were justified in the context of self-defense.
Firearms instructor and GOA spokesman Alan Rice, who spoke on behalf of the organization’s lawyers, insisted 17-year-old Rittenhouse was within his legal right to self-preservation when he shot three people, killing two of them, in the riots that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“We don’t think he did anything wrong as far as defending himself and using a firearm,” Rice told the DCNF in a phone interview.
“They chased him, they followed him and he was forced to fire in self-defense.”
Rittenhouse was arrested last week after being accused of shooting and killing a man while he was being chased on the night of Aug. 25, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Axios.
The 17-year-old ran into the road, tripped and fell to the ground and allegedly fatally shot a man in the chest and a third in the arm as they rushed him, the complaint stated.
“It’s the defender’s perception, did he perceive his life was in immediate or otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury?” Rice said.
“I do think he made the right call, I think he would’ve been seriously injured or worse, killed, if he didn’t fight back. I don’t think he had a choice, these guys were chasing him and he was outnumbered.”
Videos and the criminal complaint both substantiate claims that the teenager was fleeing from a group before the first shooting.
NYT Investigative Journalist shows that Kyle Rittenhouse did not shoot first. He was running away from Antifa & rioters pursuing him while shots were fired. pic.twitter.com/mVU3SAkWWb
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) August 27, 2020
Rice also invoked Wisconsin self-defense law.
“A person is privileged to threaten or intentionally use force against another for the purpose of preventing or terminating what the person reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference with his or her person by such other person,” Wisconsin law states.
Rice insisted that Rittenhouse acted within the legal bounds of the state law and said the code is one of the more lenient in the U.S., as it allows the defender to use threats and take preventative self-defense action.
Rice pointed to statements from the teenager’s lawyer, Pierce Bainbridge, to debunk critics’ claims that Rittenhouse was illegally carrying the rifle.
Bainbridge in a Friday statement wrote that Rittenhouse finished his workday as a community lifeguard in Kenosha, cleaned graffiti off a local public school and then traveled to a car dealership after the owners called for help from the public. Rittenhouse and a friend grabbed rifles that were legally possessed in Wisconsin to protect the businesses seeking aid, the statement read.
“We’ve got to remember, why were these people in Kenosha? These people are in Wisconsin because of a shooting to riot and burn and we’ve got Kyle Rittenhouse going to a local school and washing graffiti off the wall,” Rice said.
“Without knowing anything about the situation, it looks to me like Kyle Rittenhouse is a pretty decent young man.”
The criminal complaint issued against Rittenhouse lists a misdemeanor charge for possession of a firearm by a minor. Additionally, it is forbidden for minors to carry a firearm openly in the state of Wisconsin.
Rice also said Rittenhouse appeared to be trained and the accuracy of his shot placement may bode well in his defense.
“As far as the shot placement, we teach in self-defense training: Hits count, misses don’t. He didn’t hit an innocent bystander and his shots went where they needed to go, so that shows an amazing amount of discipline — he’s obviously had training,” Rice told the DCNF.
“I would guess that his defense team would raise that at trial and say he wasn’t reckless, he wasn’t dangerous, he hit the person who was trying to harm him,” he continued.
Rittenhouse is accused of killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Kyle Huber, 26, in addition to severely injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, according to the complaint.
All three of the men had past convictions ranging from sexual conduct with a minor to felony strangulation and false imprisonment.
Huber was hailed as a hero by some for trying to thwart the shooting by hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard, but Rice disagreed.
“That skateboard ceased to be a skateboard when the person who had it decided to turn it into a deadly weapon,” Rice said. “That skateboard at that moment was the same thing as someone swinging a baseball bat.”
“That was not an innocent kid with a skateboard,” he added. “An innocent kid with a skateboard would’ve gotten on his skateboard and rolled away.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of their original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.