How Kyle Rittenhouse ended up in Kenosha armed with an AR-15

How Kyle Rittenhouse ended up in Kenosha armed with an AR-15

November 15, 2021

Media top headlines November 12

In media news today, the media pounces on the Rittenhouse trial judge over his ringtone and supply chain joke, Barstool’s Dave Portnoy rips into Insider’s ‘hit piece’ against him, and Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother slams Joe Biden for ‘defaming’ her son

The nation locked eyes on the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse this fall, and a jury will soon decide his fate after he was charged with fatally shooting two men during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer and injuring a third man. 

He was 17-years-old at the time, and his defense team has argued he was acting in self-defense when he used an AR-style semi-automatic rifle just before midnight Aug. 25, 2020. If convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, Rittenhouse faces life in prison. 

Though only 17, Rittenhouse was able to get ahold of the rifle he used that night through one of his closest friends months before the riots in Kenosha. Rittenhouse became close with his sister’s boyfriend, a man named Dominick Black, who purchased the gun for Rittenhouse back in May 2020. He said that Rittenhouse previously agreed he wouldn’t take the gun until he reached 18. 

Kyle Rittenhouse is sworn in to testify during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A legal expert said prosecutors coul dbe barred from re-trying him if a mistrial is granted and prosecutors were found to have intentionally caused it.
(Getty Images)

Violence erupted in Kenosha following the Aug. 23, 2020 police shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake. Blake was paralyzed from the waist down, and the shooting added to the already powder-keg situation of protests and riots in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day that year. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had called in the National Guard to help quell the violence in the city, and some private citizens took to the streets to help patrol. 

A protester lights a cigarette on a garbage truck that was set on fire during protests late Monday in Kenosha, Wis., sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police officer a day earlier. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Black testified that he, his brother and Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha the morning of Aug. 25, 2020 to see the aftermath of the riots during two nights prior. They then left, and returned to the city at around 5 p.m., after one of Black’s friends said they should help protect a local business, Car Source. 

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Hours before the shooting Rittenhouse was also seen cleaning graffiti off a high school near the Kenosha County Courthouse along with a few other volunteers. 

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 25: Volunteers clean graffiti from a high school near the Kenosha County Courthouse following another night of unrest  on August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rioting as well as clashes between police and protesters began Sunday night after a police officer shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, seven times in the back in front of his three children. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rittenhouse and Black met with other armed individuals in Kenosha on the night of the shootings. Rittenhouse testified that he headed there to help patrol the streets, protect businesses and provide first aid, which he came prepared for with a medical bag. 

Two members of the family that owns Car Source, however, denied setting up plans for Rittenhouse or anyone else to protect the business. Prosecutor Thomas Binger also showed screenshots of text messages Rittenhouse sent Anmol Khindri, a member of the family that owns Car Source. 

“Hey Sam it’s Kyle do you need anyone to protect your business tonight im more then willing and will be armed i just need address,” one text read. 

“Me and my brother would both be thwre armed,” a second message read. The screenshot did not include a response from Khindri, who said he did not see the messages until Aug. 26. 

By 10 p.m. that night, he was standing guard with the rifle outside of the used car dealership. About 45 minutes later, video showed him speaking with police officers and asking for water. “We appreciate you guys. We really do,” an officer told Rittenhouse, Reuters reported. 

Then, in another video recorded by Daily Caller video editor Richie McGinniss that night, Rittenhouse explained he was patrolling the streets to “help people” and protect the car dealership. 

“People are getting injured, and our job is to protect this business, and part of my job is to also help people,” Rittenhouse said in the video. “If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That is why I have my rifle, because I need to protect myself, but I also have my med kit.”

Shortly after Rittenhouse spoke to McGinniss, Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, were fatally shot by Rittenhouse, while Gaige Grosskreutz was injured. The defense claims Rittenhouse was in fear for his life and acted in self-defense. 

Before the shootings, Rittenhouse was a police explorer for the Grayslake Police Department and a cadet with the Antioch Fire Department. He lived in Antioch with his single mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, and his two sisters. Antioch borders the Wisconsin state line and is about 20 miles, or roughly a 30-minute drive, from Kenosha, where his father, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin live. 

He was working part-time as a lifeguard at a recreational complex in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, the summer of 2020, and testified that he enjoyed swimming, “hanging out with friends, going to the beach, just normal teenage stuff.” Pleasant Prairie is located in Kenosha County and about a 15 minute drive from Kenosha. 

Social media posts from before the shooting showed he was a supporter of the police and former President Donald Trump. 

“Trump 2020” his TikTok account displayed, next to the phrase, “Bruh I’m just tryna be famous.” His social feeds also showed posts stating “Blue Lives Matter” and photos of him with guns. 

Monday marks the beginning of closing arguments for the trial before it heads to the jury. Hundreds of National Guard members in Kenosha are on standby ahead of the verdict.  

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