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Kyle Rittenhouse Incident Explained

In August of 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, brought a rifle and a medical kit twenty miles up to Kenosha Wisconsin to support local businesses and address the social unrest that was in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. While attending Kenosha, Kyle Rittenhouse faced six charges including two for homicide. An explanation of the list of charges (first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety, all accompanied with the use of a dangerous weapon) can be found here.

The incident seemingly escalated from the tense atmosphere as Joseph Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Kyle Rittenhouse and then proceeded to chase Mr. Rittenhouse through a car source dealership where, when there was a close enough distance between the two, Kyle Rittenhouse shot four rounds at Rosenbaum, killing him. After the shooting, records state that Mr. Rittenhouse made a call and stated that he just killed someone before hanging up. Many participants in the protest had pursued Kyle Rittenhouse as he fled the scene including Anthony Huber. Huber, who was holding a skateboard, allegedly attacked Kyle Rittenhouse with the object by swinging it at his neck while proceeding to reach for Mr. Rittenhouse’s gun. During the exchange, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and fatally injured Huber. After Anthony Huber was shot, Kyle Rittenhouse was approached by Gaige Grosskeutz who testified to be at the protest to provide medical care as he was equipped with both medical care and a handgun. In mixed statements coming from Mr. Grosskreutz, he allegedly drew his gun because he heard many other individuals stating that Kyle Rittenhouse had shot somebody yet in another instance he states that he never intended to aim his gun directly at Mr. Rittenhouse. Regardless, Kyle Rittenhouse shot Gaige Grosskeutz’s bicep, preventing him from firing the pistol. This entire four-minute exchange ended with Kyle Rittenouse going home and being arrested the next morning by police. 

Regarding one controversial issue was the throwing out of the weapons charge against Kyle Rittenhouse. Just hours before the closing arguments, Judge Schroeder dismissed the charge due to technicalities concerning the type of firearm Mr. Rittenhouse was carrying. The primary reasons concerned his age and the length of the barrel of the gun he was carrying which was 16 inches. The statute being discussed prohibits “the possession of a weapon by a person under 18…” if they are not in compliance with at least one other statute which includes; “hunting and use of firearms by persons under the age of 16” and the use of rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long. “Assistant District Attorney James Kraus argued that the exception renders the state’s prohibition on minors possessing dangerous weapons meaningless. But when he acknowledged that Rittenhouse’s rifle’s barrel was longer than 16 inches, the minimum barrel length allowed under state law, Schroeder dismissed the charge” (Williams, 2021).

After a deliberation of three and a half days, a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges. While hearing the verdict, Kyle Rittenhouse cried hearing he was not guilty while opposition scrutinized the decision and brought state firearm regulation to be brought into question.  


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