Disturbing new footage has emerged which appears to show the police-obsessed gunman charged with the murder of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha shooting dead his first victim before running away.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Antioch, Illinois, some 20 miles from Kenosha, where riots over the shooting of Jacob Blake have been raging now for four nights. He is accused of killing two people at the protests on Tuesday night while trying to ‘defend’ the city.
On Wednesday Police Chief Daniel Miskinis appeared to blame Tuesday night’s violence on people breaking the curfew, telling a press conference: ‘Last night, in a situation that began peaceful and turned somewhat unruly … persons who were out after the curfew became engaged in some type of disturbance and persons were shot. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.’
The two men who were killed have been identified as Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, about 15 miles west of the city. The wounded person, Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, about 30 miles northwest of Kenosha, was expected to survive, police said.
Videos from Tuesday night’s protests had already shown a gunman, later identified as Rittenhouse, being tailed by protesters as he ran down a street. The videos show the gunman stumbling and falling before firing three or four shots hitting at least two people. Huber was later identified as the man killed in this incident.
Now a new earlier clip appears to shed light on how the ordeal unfolded after a first victim was shot in the head outside a nearby auto garage. That man, now named as father-of-one Rosenbaum, is pictured on the ground while the gunman stands nearby.
The video show the gunman running away in the moments after the gunshots rang out. He could be heard saying: ‘I’ve just killed somebody.’ It is then the second and third shootings, seen in the initial video shared widely Wednesday, are thought to have happened after protesters chased the gunman.
The shooting of father-of-six Blake 29, had sparked the protests in the city against police brutality and racism. He was struck from behind at point-blank range in a hail of bullets fired on Sunday by police who were following him with guns drawn as he walked away from officers to his car and opened a door to the vehicle.
Three of his young sons inside the automobile – aged three, five and eight – witnessed their father being gunned down, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Blake family.
His shooting comes three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday authorized the deployment of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops in the city of 100,000.
Guard troops from Arizona, Michigan and Alabama were coming to Wisconsin to assist, Evers said Thursday. He did not say how many.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available.
The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.
In a another clip from Tuesday night onlookers were filmed desperately trying to put pressure on the injured man’s head wound with a t-shirt as they yelled: ‘We’ve got to keep him alive’ and ‘put pressure, put pressure’.
It is not yet clear what happened in the lead up to the initial shooting but police fear it may have stemmed from a conflict at a gas station between ‘self-styled militias’ defending local businesses from looters.
Separate videos that captured the other two shootings showed a group of protesters tailing the gunman as he ran down the middle of the street. Someone in the crowd can be heard asking ‘What did he do?’ and another responds that the man had shot someone.
The videos show the gunman stumbling and falling in the street before one pursuer took a flying kick at him, while another appeared to strike him with a skateboard.
The gunman fired three of four shots from a seated position, hitting at least two people, including one who fell over clutching his chest and another who stumbled away putting pressure on his arm, according to the videos.
Huber was identified as the man with the skateboard who died. His girlfriend paid an emotional tribute to him Wednesday evening, calling him ‘one of the most amazing people ever’.
As the crowd scattered, the shooter stood up and continued walking down the street as police cars arrived.
He then walks towards police vehicles with his hands in the air as other protesters yelled at the cops to arrest him, claiming he’d just shot two people.
The teenager was not arrested until the following day and is in now custody, charged as an adult.
Groups that had taken to Kenosha’s streets with long guns were nowhere to be seen early Thursday following somber protests and no widespread unrest for the first night since the weekend police shooting of Blake.
There were no groups patrolling Kenosha’s streets with long guns Wednesday night as there had been during previous nights’ protests.
Protesters also stayed away from a courthouse that had been the site of standoffs with law enforcement. Unlike the previous two nights, when dozens of fires were set and businesses were ransacked and destroyed, there was no widespread unrest.
On Tuesday, shortly before Rittenhouse opened fire, he gave an interview to right-wing news outlet The Daily Caller.
Armed with a rifle slung across his body, the teen, who in January sat front row at a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, told the reporter he was a certified EMT and explained he was patrolling the streets of Kenosha to provide medical attention to anyone in need and was helping protect local businesses from looters and rioters.
‘People are getting injured. Our job is to protect this business and part of my job is to also help people,’ Rittenhouse said of his militia.
‘If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way,’ added Rittenhouse, who was seen earlier guarding a local car shop with a group of armed militia members.
‘That’s why I have my rifle because I can protect myself, obviously. I also have my medkit.’
He also claimed he had been ‘de-escalating’ a potentially violent situation earlier in the night, during which he and the rest of his vigilante crew ordered protesters to leave a church that they had targeted.
When asked if the outcome would have been different if police officers responded to the scene instead, Rittenhouse replied: ‘I feel like there would be a lot more casualties and a lot more people injured.’
‘So I think the police are fine where they’re at and [should] let us run the medical, because EMS is not coming in’, he continued. ‘Us citizens, we need to help each other.’
In a press conference addressing the shooting, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told reporters it was possible the gunman was part of an armed militia that had earlier asked the department if they could become part of the police force to help protect the city. In Wisconsin, it is legal for people 18 and over to openly carry a gun without a license but it is not legal for anyone under 18 to own a gun.
Beth said: ‘And I’m like, ‘Oh, hell no.’ What happened last night is the perfect reason why I wouldn’t.’
The sheriff called it a ‘scary thought’ that untrained members of the public might ever be given the same duties or privileges as police.
‘Oh, hell no. What a scary, scary thought that would be in my world,’ he said.
But footage from the night shows police thanking a group of armed militia that Rittenhouse was a part of and giving them water.
‘We appreciate you being here,’ an officer was heard saying to the group over a loudspeaker.
The sheriff later defended officers by saying, ‘Our deputies would toss water to anybody.’
In a photograph posted by his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, he is wearing what appears to be a blue law enforcement uniform as well as the kind of brimmed hat that state troopers wear.
Records show that in January 2017 his mom claimed a classmate of her son’s had been calling him ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ and threatening him as she sought an order of protection from police.