A 17-year-old Illinois resident has been charged in connection with the gunfire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tuesday night that left two people dead and one injured.
Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested in Antioch, Illinois, on Wednesday, Commander Norman Johnson of the Antioch Police Department said, according to Fox News. Antioch, which is Rittenhouse’s hometown, is about 20 miles southwest of Kenosha.
Rittenhouse was a “fugitive of justice” and “fled the state of Wisconsin with the intent to avoid prosecution” after a first-degree intentional homicide charge was filed against him in Kenosha County, according to court records.
The precise circumstances of the shootings remained unclear Wednesday, despite video that shows a figure with a long gun being chased by demonstrators. At one point, the figure fell, and opened fire. Kenosha police said in a statement that all three shooting victims were wounded at the same location.
Witness Julio Rosas, 24, said when the gunman fell, “two people jumped onto him and there was a struggle for control of his rifle. At that point during the struggle, he just began to fire multiple rounds and that dispersed people near him,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The rifle was being jerked around in all directions while it was being fired,” he said.
Warning: The social media video shared that shows the incident contains scenes of graphic violence.
A crowd chases a suspected shooter down in Kenosha. He trips and falls, then turns with the gun and fires several times. Shots can be heard fired elsewhere as well, corroborating reports of multiple shooters tonight #Kenosha #KenoshaRiots pic.twitter.com/qqsYWmngFW
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 26, 2020
Pat Mess, who said his grandparents live near the area where the shooting took place, said he noticed that amid a crowd of about 100 people, one man was being chased by four people who appeared to have shoved him to the ground.
“All hell broke loose from there,” Mess said. “That’s when all the shots started breaking out. That was when we witnessed the man right here laying on his back with an AR-style rifle. He proceeded to flip over and he fired two shots from that.”
He said afterward the shooter “was walking down the street with his hands in the air. He proceeded to walk down the road with his hands in the air like nothing happened and he walked right past at least three SWAT trucks.”
I interviewed the alleged shooter before the violence started.
Full video coming soon: pic.twitter.com/G3dVOJozN7
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) August 26, 2020
“People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” Rittenhouse said. “And part of my job also is to protect people. If somebody is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
Some on Twitter said the circumstances will not support a first-degree homicide charge.
I’ve seen the video of the aftermath of the guy shot in the head, and the video of the kid falling on his back when attacked. If they are charging him for that second one, it doesn’t stand a chance, but I know nothing about the first one.
— Baseball is almost back (@LastWordWilliam) August 26, 2020
They trying to hit him with 1sr degree murder.
There is a ton of video showing what happened.
There is no way any prosecutor is ever going to get that. He will walk.
— MartinRage (@MartinRageTV2) August 26, 2020
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating whether the shooting was connected to some armed men protecting a nearby gas station.
Kenosha police have not named the people who were killed, but said one was a 26-year-old from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and the other a 36-year-old from Kenosha. Police also said a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wisconsin, was wounded, according to CBS News.
Riots erupted in Kenosha Sunday night after police shot a black man, Jacob Blake, 29, who was shown on video getting into a car after a struggle with police when he was shot. The violence in Kenosha has included arson and vandalism that has damaged downtown businesses and a library.
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