An attorney for suspected militia member Kyle Rittenhouse — who is accused of fatally shooting two protesters and wounding a third at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin — has released a video he insisted shows the teen acted in self-defense.
Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, faces six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and attempted homicide. A hearing is set for Sept. 25.
He was allegedly part of a militia called to protect businesses being razed by rioting arsonists over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot in the back and left paralyzed.
On Tuesday, Rittenhouse’s attorney Lin Wood released through his #FightBack Foundation a slickly produced video in which the defense team contends that other shots were fired before and after the first fatal shooting, in which Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was killed, the Daily Mail reported.
The high school student has maintained that he and his pals were called by a local business owner to help maintain the peace during the unrest in which several businesses were burned down by arsonists.
Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed Rosenbaum with a Smith & Wesson AR-15-style .223 rifle before slaying Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, in the arm.
Earlier video captured people pursuing the teen shortly after he allegedly killed Rosenbaum and before he opened fire on Huber and Grosskreutz. Other footage also shows a dispute between Rosenbaum and men guarding a nearby gas station prior to the shooting.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys say that Rosenbaum was furious that the guards had extinguished a fire that activists had tried to set at the station — and that he was seen shouting “Shoot me n—-!” at a man with a rifle who was dressed similarly to the student, the news outlet reported.
Rittenhouse was later seen running up with a fire extinguisher to snuff out another fire, which his lawyers claimed that Rosenbaum was involved in igniting, according to the outlet.
The video released by Wood reportedly shows Rittenhouse fleeing from Rosenbaum, who his attorneys theorize may have believed their client was the other guard with whom he had an earlier dispute.
The footage shows Rittenhouse running into a parking lot, followed by Rosenbaum and Richard McGinniss, a journalist who caught the pursuit on his cellphone.
“Directly in front of Rittenhouse, armed with bats and other weapons, a mob is forming a barricade,” according to the voiceover on the news video.
During the chase, a gunshot is heard with the muzzle flash captured on video, though it was unclear who fired the weapon. Rittenhouse then fired his rifle at Rosenbaum, who lunged at his rifle, according to McGinniss. The attorneys said he fired four times. The video captures the three additional shots.
Rosenbaum was hit four times, but Rittenhouse’s attorneys said it has not yet been proven that he fired all of the bullets that struck Rosenbaum, the outlet reported.
Rittenhouse then tried to call 911 and ran off as an angry crowd began to gather, the outlet reported. When he tripped and fell, several people began to attack him and he reportedly shot two rounds into the air.
When Huber attacked him with a skateboard and grabbed for his rifle, Rittenhouse shot him dead.
The video also shows Grosskreutz approaching with a handgun in his right hand. Rittenhouse fires once, striking him in the right bicep.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers also have unearthed a social media post that they say shows a friend of Grosskreutz who spoke to him at the hospital.
“His only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him,” the friend claimed Grosskreutz had said, the outlet reported.
Meanwhile, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi defended Rittenhouse as a “little boy” who was merely “trying to protect his community,” according to Newsweek.
“You have got a 17-year-old out there trying to protect his state,” Bondi told Sean Hannity on Fox News, despite the fact the teen came from Illinois.
“He is helping people who have been injured. He has paramedic training from being a lifeguard. He is taking graffiti off walls. He is trying to mitigate the chaos out there,” she said.
“They’re chasing him down,” Bondi said. “Whether or not he should be charged with any of it, I think it’s too soon to charge him. We don’t even know the ballistics. They charged him two days later and there were bullets flying everywhere.”
She added: “You know, it’s a war zone out there. What’s it coming to in these liberal cities, when teenagers have to go out to provide aid to other people who are getting injured by these rioters?”
In a statement to Newsweek, Bondi said she meant that Rittenhouse was “defending a nearby city” and not his home state or community.
Last month, President Trump defended Rittenhouse, saying he “probably would have been killed” had he not fired his weapon.
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