Man charged in Wisconsin protest shootings returns to court
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — An 18-year-old from Illinois accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin is due back in court Wednesday morning to go over final preparations for his trial.
Kyle Rittenhouse is scheduled to appear remotely before Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder for a pre-trial conference. Jury selection for his trial is slated to begin March 29 but his attorneys have hinted they may seek a delay.
Rittenhouse faces multiple felony counts, including reckless homicide and reckless endangerment. He also faces a misdemeanor count of being a minor in possession of a firearm.
According to prosecutors, Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, on Aug. 25 after a local militia posted an online message seeking help protecting businesses from protesters. Kenosha was in the throes of several nights of chaotic protests after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back during a domestic disturbance. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, opened fire on protesters Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz with an AR-15-style rifle. Rosenbaum and Huber were killed. Grosskreutz was wounded but survived.
Rittenhouse has argued that he fired in self-defense after the three protesters attacked him. Police let him walk through their lines in the moments following the shootings, even though Rittenhouse still had his rifle slung over his shoulder and protesters were screaming that he had just shot three people.
Conservatives have rallied around him, painting him as a symbol for gun rights. They generated $2 million for his bail in November.
Black Lives Matter supporters have worked to define him as a trigger-happy white supremacist. His attorney, Mark Richards, told Schroeder last month that Rittenhouse has received threats and has moved into a undisclosed safe house.