- The Washington Times
Saturday, August 29, 2020

Attorneys for Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse argued Friday he acted in self-defense and predicted the Illinois teen will be acquitted of the murder charges he faces in Wisconsin.

Lawyers representing Mr. Rittenhouse in this week’s double homicide said in a lengthy statement their client “had no choice but to fire” when Tuesday’s deadly shooting took place.

“He will become a symbol of the heroic individual American who at certain times in history must say: ‘Don’t Tread On Me’,” defense lawyer John M. Pierce added later on Twitter.

Mr. Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged as an adult by Wisconsin prosecutors with five felony charges and a misdemeanor related to the shooting, which killed two people and injured another.

Video recorded by witnesses captured Mr. Rittenhouse being chased by a group of people before gunshots erupted. He then fled while being pursued, tripped and more shots erupted.

Prosecutors have charged Mr. Rittenhouse with killing Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, with an AR-15 style rifle. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was also shot and survived.

Mr. Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday in his home state and charged in a complaint unsealed the next day with counts including first degree intentional and reckless homicide, among others.

Mr. Pierce, the founder of Pierce Bainbridge, announced his firm was representing Mr. Rittenhouse shortly after a judge agreed Friday to delay the teen’s extradition hearing.

“He did nothing wrong,” Mr. Pierce said in a statement. “He defended himself, which is a fundamental right of all Americans given by God and protected by law.”

The incident occurred amid unrest sparked by Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, being shot from behind and paralyzed by a member of the Kenosha Police Department on Sunday.

Roughly three months since the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Sunday’s shooting resulted in renewed protests taking place in Kenosha against police brutality and racism.

Those demonstrations descended into riots on Monday. And, on Tuesday, Mr. Rittenhouse took up arms in response, according to the statement issued by his legal team.

“His intent was not to incite violence, but simply to deter property damage and use his training to provide first aid to injured community members,” his lawyers said in the statement.

Mr. Rittenhouse faces one count each of first-degree reckless homicide, first degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first degree recklessly endangering safety and underage possession of a dangerous weapon.

The extradition hearing for whether or not to hand him over to Wisconsin authorities is currently set for September 25.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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