Seventeen years old. He had an affinity for cops, it seems, with lots of Blue Lives Matter sloganeering on his Facebook page. “In a photograph posted by his mother, he is wearing what appears to be a blue law enforcement uniform as well as the kind of brimmed hat that state troopers wear,” the AP reported.
What was a 17-year-old doing in another state in the middle of the night, where he knew there would likely be a riot?
We’ll have to wait for more information but this too may have originated at the font of all bad things, social media.
Here’s the call for right wing militia to go to Kenosha. #
They came armed. Two people killed, one injured. pic.twitter.com/bykKKouwJ6
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) August 26, 2020
I’ve been trying to piece together what happened last night from video clips on social media. It seems there were two separate incidents with young Kyle Rittenhouse — and amazingly, both of them were recorded live by bystanders on their cell phones. “Witness accounts and video show that the shootings took place in two stages,” the AP explained. “The gunman first shot someone at a car lot, then jogged away, stumbled and fell in the street, and opened fire again as members of the crowd closed in him.” That’s exactly how it looks to me too. Before we watch the clips, though, here are two brief interviews conducted before the shootings. Richie McGinniss of the Daily Caller and Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze say this is Rittenhouse:
CONTEXT: I spoke with the alleged shooter earlier in the night who stated he was there to protect property
He did not make racist comments, condemn #BLM, or mention political motivations for his actions
He said that he was there to protect property & was carrying a firearm pic.twitter.com/ViYUB65tiy
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) August 26, 2020
Here’s the shooting at the car lot. I posted this in an earlier thread but will warn you again here that it’s graphic. It’s recorded from too far away to tell what happened, such as where Rittenhouse was when the shot was allegedly fired and what the victim was up to when he was hit. That looks like him in the white cap, running from around the car, from left to right, at 0:10. He approaches the victim and then runs off at 0:35 as people gather to render aid.
The guy in this video helping the man who had just been shot is Daily Caller reporter @RichieMcGinniss.
Literally taking the shirt off his back to help save his life.pic.twitter.com/P59hoUDYj6
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 26, 2020
I count eight shots fired, a number that may matter when he eventually asserts self-defense (or defense of another) at trial. Then he runs off — and is followed by an angry crowd accusing him of having shot the man at the car lot. He ends up falling to the ground as several men descend on him and he starts firing, apparently hitting two.
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
You can see he has his hands up afterward as police approach, seemingly trying to surrender. They must not have realized what happened yet because they drove right by him.
Or maybe they did realize? They seemed pretty chill about a makeshift militia wandering around with AR-15s earlier in the evening:
This is astonishing video. Officers in Kenosha in military vehicles stopped to engage with armed white men, told them they were appreciated and offered them bottles of water. pic.twitter.com/O5lJxwgf3M
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) August 26, 2020
The self-defense claim in the second clip is obvious. He was being pursued by an angry mob, which likely included people who’d already been rioting that evening, and thus had a reasonable belief that they were going to cause him serious bodily harm. But the reasonableness of the second shooting depends on the reasonableness of the first one, at the car lot, no? Imagine a school shooter on a rampage. He shoots someone dead in the hallway, then turns around to find a classmate approaching him with a knife. He shoots that classmate too. He doesn’t get to plead self-defense in the second shooting just because his classmate was prepared to kill him if need to be to stop him from murdering more people.
Were the guys who were shot in the second clip above trying to attack Rittenhouse or were they just trying to disarm him after he’d shot someone without justification? Witness testimony is going to be important here.
Whatever happens on the murder charge, seems like he’s likely to do some sort of time. Exit quotation: “In Wisconsin, it is legal for people 18 and over to openly carry a gun, with no license required.”
Update: The Blaze has its own tick-tock of what went down last night. They claim that the guy in the red t-shirt seen at the end of this clip getting confrontational with the “militia” guys earlier in the evening is the man who was later shot by Rittenhouse at the car lot.
Rioters are getting into confrontations with armed citizens who are out here to prevent looting and destruction to businesses. pic.twitter.com/f65YkP24kG
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 26, 2020
Here’s the key video — or videos, I should say. Two clips captured the car lot shooting. It looks like Rittenhouse was chased into the lot by red t-shirt guy. The latter doesn’t appear to be armed as far as I can tell (he tosses something that looks like a plastic bag, as it only travels a few feet) but he’s clearly looking for a fight and trying to catch up to Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse ends up shooting him in the head as he approaches. Is that enough of a threat of serious bodily harm to justify deadly force? I think he’d have a stronger defense if red t-shirt guy was part of a pack of five to 10 people or whatever descending on him.
— Anonymous Operations (@AnonOpsSE) August 26, 2020