Police arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting deaths of two men during the third consecutive night of violent demonstrations in Kenosha, WI reported KTLA5. A third man was wounded in the incident and is expected to survive.
The Guardian reported that police identified the suspect as Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, IL. He was identified on cellphone video taken at the scene of the violence. Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with first-degree intentional homicide. The arrest was made in Illinois. He is being held in Illinois pending extradition to Wisconsin.
The shooting appeared to be part of a confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters and what Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth called “self-styled militias.” Despite a curfew being imposed on the city, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets again after 34 fires were reported being set the prior 2 nights. Over 30 businesses suffered serious damage as well as an undetermined number of homes. Pat Oertle, the owner of one such business called Computer Adventure said, “Nobody deserves this. This accomplishes nothing. This is not justice that they’re looking for.”
The affair appears to have begun at Bert and Rudy’s Auto Service, a local gas station, where rival groups had gathered. Devin Scott, 19-year old protester who was at the gas station, described the situation as it unfolded. “We were all chanting ‘Black lives matter’ at the gas station and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, ‘That’s not fireworks,’” he said. “And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him and then he started shooting again.”
Video taken at the scene showed a group chasing Rittenhouse, who was armed with a rifle, down a street. When Rittenhouse fell to the ground, a number of his pursuers appeared to attack him after which he opened fire. Two people were shot and Rittenhouse left the scene and walked down the street with his hands held above his head. Numerous police are seen passing by Rittenhouse on their way to the shooting scene. Sheriff Beth attributed the suspect’s escape to the general chaos ensuing as officers hurried to the site of the shootings.
After consulting with Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Today I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER! We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)…”
The general violence in Kenosha began after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police on Sunday. Blake is recovering from his wounds in a nearby hospital but is expected to be paralyzed as a result of his injuries. His mother, Julia Jackson, spoke out against the ongoing violence in Kenosha at a news conference. “Do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts,” she said. “As I pray for my son’s healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country.”