Kyle Rittenhouse—the 17-year-old who was identified as the suspected shooter who allegedly killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday evening—has been taken into police custody and is facing homicide charges.
According to public records from the Lake County, Illinois Clerk of Courts obtained by the Daily Dot, Rittenhouse was arrested in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois on Wednesday (Aug. 26) and has been charged with murder in the Kenosha killings.
The criminal complaint also states that Rittenhouse was labeled a “fugitive of justice” after he “fled the state of Wisconsin with intent to avoid prosecution” for the fatal shooting.
Rittenhouse’s arrest comes after it was reported early Wednesday morning that at least three people had been shot—two fatally—amid the Kenosha protests.
According to a media release from police, two people were killed and one was hurt with “serious, but non-life threatening injuries” following a shooting incident Tuesday evening in the area of 63rd Street and Sheridan Road.
— Kenosha Police Dept. (@KenoshaPolice) August 26, 2020
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said early Wednesday that both the suspected shooter and one of the people killed were white.
The shooter has since been identified as 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who is described as an alleged white supremacist and part of a vigilante militia group. He was seen with a long gun walking down a street in Kenosha Tuesday night (Aug. 26) before he opened fire on people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
I have three ways to identify the Kenosha Shooter who has killed two people
Kyle Rittenhouse/Kyle Lewis pic.twitter.com/GoIZsJmUk3
— Garrison Davis (Teargas Proof) (@hungrybowtie) August 26, 2020
Footage from the protests showed a gunman in the middle of the street brandishing a semi-automatic rifle before shooting at multiple people.
Eyewitnesses said the gunman was then allowed to walk right past police without being arrested, and in one particular video, protesters can be heard shouting at police that he was the gunman as officers drove by to tend to the victims.
There was also unverified footage shared on social media purporting to show Rittenhouse “being offered water from the Kenosha police,” who allegedly told him: “We appreciate you being here.”
Another video showed a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head after being shot allegedly by Rittenhouse.
In another video, after he had already shot someone, a man who appeared to be Rittenhouse could be seen being chased by protesters who were trying to subdue him. He is then seen falling to the ground before unloading his weapon, striking at least two people.
Then, in a “shocking” turn of events, as police swarm the area in patrol cars and fortified vehicles, the gunman—with his weapon still clearly visible around his chest—puts his hands in the air, but the police vehicles all drive right by him as the crowd screams that he’s the shooter.
Watch below (BE WARNED, SOME OF THE FOOTAGE IS VERY GRAPHIC):
This is the Kenosha shooter being offered water from the Kenosha police.
"We appreciate you being here."
The police is working with the shooting militia. We need to abolish the police. They aren't helping pic.twitter.com/mdgKuOTuUS
— New York Socialist (@berniebromanny) August 26, 2020
— Manipulated Media™ (@thc_media) August 26, 2020
— Nick Knudsen ?? (@DemWrite) August 26, 2020
This is a stark contrast from Sunday’s (Aug. 23) shooting of the Black and unarmed man Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times by an officer as he tried to get into his car. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down, according to his father.
As video footage about Tuesday night’s shooting circulated online, social media sleuths identified the potential suspect as Rittenhouse.
His Facebook page is no longer available to the public, but screenshots show that he posted a number of “Blue Lives Matter” and pro-police statements. Others who saw the teen’s social media pages before they were taken down reported seeing misogynist and white supremacist comments.
One image circulating of Rittenhouse (in the header image above this article) showed the teen carrying a rifle similar to what was allegedly used during the shooting.
“This morning Kenosha County authorities issued an arrest warrant for the individual responsible for the incident, charging him with First Degree Intentional Homicide,” the Antioch Police Department said in a press release Wednesday.
“The suspect in this incident, a 17-year-old Antioch resident, is currently in custody of the Lake County Judicial System pending an extradition hearing to transfer custody from Illinois to Wisconsin.”
Rittenhouse was interviewed prior to the shooting Tuesday night and was asked why he was attending the protest.
“So people are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” Rittenhouse said while posted up in front of a boarded-up building in a video posted by a Daily Caller reporter. “And part of my job is to also help people. If there is somebody hurt I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself obviously. I also have my med kit.”
I interviewed the alleged shooter before the violence started.
Full video coming soon: pic.twitter.com/G3dVOJozN7
— Richie?McG? (@RichieMcGinniss) August 26, 2020
Earlier on Wednesday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that armed citizens have been patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in response to the looting, burning, and other damage to buildings and cars in the area from protesters. He wouldn’t confirm whether the gunman from Tuesday night’s shooting was among them.
“They’re a militia,” Beth said. “They’re like a vigilante group.”
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, who is Black, slammed authorities for allowing armed gunmen to walk the streets with rifles without facing any repercussions.
“How many times across this country do you see armed gunmen, protesting, walking into state Capitols, and everybody just thinks it’s OK?” Barnes said in an interview with Democracy Now. “People treat that like it’s some kind of normal activity that people are walking around with assault rifles.”
Barnes continued: “You know, in many instances, these people have been led on by various conspiracy theories that have ruminated on the internet, and these people are demanding to have their country back. And to assume that nothing bad is going to happen, to assume that these people are up to—or, have the most fine intentions, is completely ridiculous.”
Rittenhouse has been assigned a public defender and faces charges of “first-degree intentional homicide”. He’s expected to appear in court on Friday.