KENOSHA, WI – A jury in Wisconsin on Friday found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges related to the shooting of three men – two of whom died – during August 2020 protests in Kenosha.
Rittenhouse, 18, broke down crying and collapsed in his seat as the jury foreman read the verdict, finding him not guilty on one count each of First Degree Reckless Homicide, First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, First Degree Intentional Homicide, and Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide.
In addition, as Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shootings, he had also been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, a misdemeanor; however, this charge was later dropped by Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, citing a Wisconsin law that allows 16 and 17 year-olds to carry rifles and shotguns as long as they are not “unlawfully short-barreled.”
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A resident of nearby Antioch, Illinois, Rittenhouse admittedly had shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, in addition to shooting and severely wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.
The shootings took place on August 25, 2020, during violent protesting and riots in Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police. Rittenhouse, accompanying several other men and armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a medical kit, arrived in Kenosha to reportedly guard private property from looters and vandals.
Rittenhouse had maintained that all of the shootings were in self-defense, reiterating that while testifying on the stand in his own defense last week.
After the closing arguments concluded and the jury went into deliberations it took them a total of 23 hours to arrive at their decision. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers activated 500 National Guard in anticipation of protests following the verdict.
Defense attorney Mark Richards spoke to the media after Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in Kenosha County court.