Illinois Teen Arrested After 3 Shot, 2 Fatally, In Kenosha, Wis., Overnight

12 hours ago
Originally published on August 26, 2020 3:51 pm

Updated 3:43 p.m. ET

An Illinois teenager has been arrested in connection with a deadly shooting Tuesday in Kenosha, Wis., during the third consecutive night of protests following the police shooting of a Black resident.

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white male, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and was taken into custody by police in Antioch, Ill., about 15 miles southwest of Kenosha.

The Kenosha Police Department released few details early Wednesday but confirmed two people had been shot and killed, while a third person suffered injuries that weren't life threatening, according to a statement.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing and that the names, ages and cities of the victims' residences were still being determined. Police said the shooting took place just before midnight.

Rittenhouse is in custody of the Lake County Judicial System pending an extradition hearing to transfer custody from Illinois to Wisconsin, according to Antioch police.

"Our Village of Antioch is deeply saddened by all loss of life. Our hearts and prayers extend to the friends and family who lost a loved one," Antioch Mayor Lawrence Hanson said in a statement.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel one of the victims suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Another victim was shot in the chest; however, Beth said he was unsure where the third victim was shot.

Beth also told the Kenosha News both the Kenosha police and the FBI are investigating the shootings.

The newspaper reported that both a shooter and one of the fatalities were white males and that "dozens of shots were heard" at the protest site. It notes there were earlier scuffles between Black Lives Matter supporters and armed individuals that did not lead to gunfire earlier Tuesday night.

Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Rachael Vasquez said a small group of protesters arrived later and threw objects at police.

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would be "sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!" Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers had agreed to accept the federal assistance, Trump said.

Video shows chaotic scene

One video posted to social media shows a chaotic scene where multiple gunshots can be heard. In it, a man is jogging down the middle of a street carrying a long gun.

A person can be heard on the video asking, "What he do?"

"He shot someone," another person answers.

Moments later, the man with the gun falls to the ground; someone yells, "Get his a**!"

The man then turns on his backside and hoists the gun as people run at him, including one person who jumps and kicks at him.

The man then appears to start shooting at the people around him.

One man is shot at close range, stumbles off and falls to the ground. A second man appears to be shot in the arm or shoulder and retreats.

Cries of "Medic! Medic!" can be heard.

A protester thrusts an object toward police during clashes Tuesday night outside the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha.
David Goldman / AP

Later in the footage, the gunman approaches law enforcement with his arms raised above his head, but no one stops or apprehends him before the video cuts off.

In a statement Tuesday released before the shootings, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department said it was bracing for "what will likely be another very challenging night in Kenosha County." It also reminded residents of the curfew that was in effect from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time.

Kenosha Guard militia

The sheriff said armed civilians have been patrolling Kenosha streets during the protests, but he was not clear if a shooter was linked to that group, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"They're a militia," Beth told the paper. "They're like a vigilante group."

Wisconsin is an open carry state, meaning that gun owners can legally carry loaded firearms in public.

A screen grab from a Facebook group called the Kenosha Guard posted a statement Wednesday saying it was not sure if the perpetrator of violence Tuesday night in Kenosha was affiliated with the group.
Kenosha Guard / Screenshot by NPR

A Facebook group calling itself the Kenosha Guard posted a message Wednesday saying it was not sure if a shooter had answered the group's call to arms. The group had been open to the public as of Wednesday morning but has since disappeared. NPR took screen grabs of messages posted to it before it was blocked from public view.

"We are unaware if the armed citizen was answering the Kenosha Guard Militia's call to arms," the statement said. "Just like with the shooting of Jacob Blake, we need all the facts and evidence to come out before we make a judgement. God Bless and stay safe Kenosha!"

In a separate post Tuesday, the group addressed Kenosha's police chief in announcing it had more than 3,000 volunteers who said they would be present in several city neighborhoods. It also warned law enforcement not to tell members of the group to go home under threat of arrest, and that the militia would outnumber law enforcement agents.

A Facebook page called the Kenosha Guard was previously open to the public but has since been locked. Earlier this week the group said 3,000 people would respond to a call to be in several Kenosha neighborhoods.
Kenosha Guard / Screenshot by NPR

Governor declares state of emergency

Evers, the state's Democratic governor, declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and ordered additional Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist local law enforcement agencies, bringing to 250 the number of troops deployed to the city.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, said in a tweet Wednesday morning that it was "heartbreaking" that violence in the city had led to fatalities. He then chastised the state's governor for not yet accepting an offer from Trump for more National Guard troops.

On Wednesday, members of the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the Evers requesting the number of troops be increased to 1,500 and for them to "be sent here immediately."

The protests were sparked in Kenosha, a city of 100,000 people about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, after a video posted on social media went viral Sunday showing Blake being shot multiple times in the back by police as he leaned into a gray SUV. Blake's three young sons were in the vehicle when he was shot.

Addressing the media Tuesday, Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, confirmed that Blake was paralyzed from the waist down. He said at that time that Blake was having another surgery and said that "it's going to take a miracle" for him to walk again.

Another attorney for the family, Patrick Salvi, shared details of the extent of Blake's injuries, including that a bullet went through some or all of his spinal cord and damaged his kidney and liver. Blake also was shot in the arm, had holes in his stomach, and had to have the majority of his colon and small intestine removed, Salvi said.

On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said that it was investigating the shooting of Blake and that it was being assisted by the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.

The officers involved in the Blake shooting have not been identified, but officials said they have been placed on administrative leave and are cooperating with the investigation.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.