Two people died and a third was shot during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shortly before midnight on August 25 in what witnesses and videos indicate was a chaotic series of shootings in the street. Police dispatch audio said authorities were searching for multiple suspects at one point. Graphic videos show a victim lying on the ground with a head injury and capture a man in a green shirt being chased, falling and then shooting.
The accused shooter who was wearing the green shirt has now been identified as Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, a pro-police supporter, judging from his now deleted Facebook page. A photo on his mom’s page shows him in a police cadet uniform. His Facebook page was filled with pro law enforcement graphics and photos showing him holding large weapons. Read more about Rittenhouse here.
“On August 25, 2020 at about 11:45 p.m. Kenosha Police, along with assisting agencies, responded to the area of 63rd Street and Sheridan Road for reports of shots being fired and multiple gunshot victims,” Kenosha police wrote in a news release. “The shooting resulted in two fatalities and a third gunshot victim was transported to a hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The shooting investigation is active an ongoing. No further details regarding the shooting will be released at this time. The names, ages and cities of residence for the victims are still being determined.”
A disturbing video shows a man lying on the ground wounded in the head as people try to help him. It appears that people at the demonstrations shot each other; there is no indication that police were involved in these shootings. The shootings came after people lit small arson fires; the night before, multiple major blazes broke out in the city. Heavy was at the scene for both nights documenting what was going on. Be forewarned that this video is extremely graphic, as are others later in this article.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he wasn’t sure whether there was one shooter.
Kenosha police told Heavy the state Department of Justice was investigating the shooting; DOJ is also the lead agency investigating the police shooting of Jacob Blake that started all of the disorder. Witnesses told Heavy at the scene that one man was shot in the head and described people convulsing and lying on the ground.
Videos and witnesses described a confusing scene with multiple eruptions of gunfire. At one point, videos and witnesses reveal, a white man in a green shirt ran down the street shouting that he wasn’t the shooter as people chased him. Several witnesses told Heavy he was struck by someone with a skateboard and fell to the ground, with a gun in his hand, firing. People said they heard multiple guns going off. It appeared there was a shooting before the chase. Three witnesses told Heavy that the original shooter was a person in a helmet and bulletproof vest and wasn’t the same man being chased. They said the initial shooting ignited when the man, who was white, argued with Black Lives Matter protesters because they had lit fires in the area. Pictures of the man in the green shirt circulated widely on social media as people tried to identify him.
One video showed the man in a green shirt walking with police.
“Down at the end of the block, there’s another victim. There’s a loaded handgun in the road right here,” a man says in one of the videos, which you can see later in the story.
“Multiple gunshots are fired after people chased a guy with a rifle. Rifle dude tripped and fell. He fired his gun at a guy who jumped on top of him,” Julio Rosas, a journalist with TownHall.com, wrote.
Heavy obtained a post from social media earlier in the evening that showed a call for armed citizens “to protect our life and property.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Videos Captured a Man in a Green Shirt Running Down the Street With a Long Gun Before Shooting Erupts Again
In a video by CJ TV, the shooting breaks out around 7 minutes into the video, which you can see above. The narrator says a man’s arm was “blown off” at one point in the video. One shooter shot two people, the narrator says. He refers to the man in the green shirt as being one of the “militia” people.
In the beginning of that video, the protesters go to check out a tire fire. At that point, gunshots ring out. “Those are gunshots down there,” the narrator says and starts running. People start shouting for a medic. A garbage can is lying in the middle of the street, turned over.
Then, the man in a green shirt runs down the middle of the street carrying a long gun. “They’re going to beat him up,” someone says. More gunshots erupt.
“Oh s*** he just shot that guy in the stomach,” the narrator says. “S***, people are getting shot all around us.”
The accused shooter is wearing a green shirt with a backward baseball cap and running with a long gun. People give chase. More gunshots erupt. “I didn’t f****** do it,” someone shouts.
A man is bleeding from his right arm and people grab a tourniquet. “That guy was directly in front of me and I watched him shoot two people,” the narrator says.
One live stream by Andrew Mercado shows people congregating at a gas station before gunfire breaks out down the street. “People are just shooting. Oh my God,” Mercado says. Be aware that the language in the video is graphic.
“Oh my f****** Christ God, he says. “Oh s***, that’s gunshots. They’re shooting.” The gunshots break out at 3 hours and 40 minutes into the video above. Right before the shooting, Mercado says, “It looks like the town is kicking the people out. These are community members here.” Multiple gunshots ring out. “Shots fired. That’s real gunfire. Just passing 61st Street,” he says.
“Somebody’s hurt,” a man shouts.
“There’s still gunshots in the city. They’re shooting,” says Mercado. People run down the street.
“That’s not the shooter,” he says at another point. “Now he’s on the ground. He’s shooting, he’s shooting, he’s shooting. Get down. Get down.” More gunshots ring out.
“People down, shots are fired.”
More shots ring out in the video.
There is a fire burning on the street.
There is confusion about the man people are chasing. “He got hit in the head and dude he just shot. He had a gun in his hand,” Mercado said.
“This is getting too much,” another man told him. “Another person got shot point blank right down the street.”
A white man with a weapon in a baseball hat was interviewed. “We came out initially to protect the property here. Things got a little rowdy,” he said. “We were able to calm it down. We were then trying to provide medical aid to protesters.” He said people had various injuries including a “gunshot to the arm.”
“We don’t know who, what or why, someone approached someone with a gun and shot,” the man said, adding that two people were shot, possibly a third. The accused shooter kept saying, “I didn’t shoot anybody.” He had a medic bag on his back.
Armed Citizens & Demonstrators Were Clashing Before the Shootings
Rosas, the TownHall reporter, described a series of conflicts between armed citizens and demonstrators.
He reported that “rioters are getting into confrontations with armed citizens who are out here to prevent looting and destruction to businesses.” Three witnesses told Heavy that they believed at least one of the shooters was part of one of those armed citizen groups; they described the group as “All Lives Matter” in focus, saying one of its members was wearing a shirt with that slogan, but that was not the shooter.
The Kenosha News spoke to a witness who said that, in the first shooting incident, “some guys were telling protesters to stop breaking windows of vehicles and they got mad and charged at a group of people with guns.” Photos of Getty images capture the moment a skateboarder struck the man in the green shirt.
Heavy observed a group of multiple white men in camouflage and openly carrying long guns walking toward the protest crowd as the crowd squared off with police near the courthouse. That was about an hour before the shooting. Heavy also observed multiple Black Lives Matter protesters openly carrying firearms. People also set arson fires and broke windows and smashed cars. In one viral video, an elderly business owner was attacked while trying to defend his business with a fire extinguisher.
At one point, the men were in a group with protesters whose leader was talking about using leaf blowers and fire extinguishers against the police. It’s not clear whether that group was the same group whose member was involved in the shootings; witnesses said there was more than one such group. Counter-protesters organized their resistance on social media. There was a lot of firepower on the streets of Kenosha; Heavy also observed heavily armed citizens guarding a gas station and a car dealer and blocking off and guarding the entrance to an entire subdivision.
“A person with the red shirt was arguing,” Delreno Jackson, who told Heavy he witnessed the shooting, said in an interview at the scene. “His friend tried to stop him because he saw the gun on his waist. A shooting broke out.” He said that a garbage can was thrown after the initial shooter was upset that Black Lives Matter protesters were lighting a fire. The initial shooter threw a garbage can to stop it, Jackson said. Heavy observed the garbage can lying toppled over in the street inside the crime scene tape.
“He got to running. Everyone was chasing him. More shots rang out. At that point I went alongside the house, and I ducked,” he said of one of the shooters. He said there were multiple shooters.
The people shooting “had a helmet, a vest, a gun strap, a gun on the waist, and stuff like that,” he said. “They were whites shooting, I believe.” He did see a member of the group with an All Lives Matter shirt at one point. Jackson is from Chicago, lives in Racine and came to Kenosha for the “Movement.”
“They were trying to save stuff, be like a Superman,” he said of that group. He had already heard that “two had died. One got shot in the head.” One of the shooters “was running. I believe he had fell … he ducked and then got to shooting around in circles.”
Jackson said he was “scared. I didn’t know what to do. I was just ducking and trying not to get in the middle of it so I wouldn’t get shot.” He described it as “crazy,” saying it happened “too fast” and “everybody had guns.”
A woman who gave her name as Ashlea Roberts also described two shooters at least: The man in the green shirt and a man with a helmet and bulletproof vest. At one point, officers told dispatchers that FBI negotiators were headed to a house to help local police with a suspect in the current shooting. Police were searching the rubble of a burnt Community Corrections office. They also put out a description of a car over the scanner.
The crime scene extended a full block. The yellow tape started at a building with Black Lives Matter graffiti and wrapped around the street. The crime scene was clearly the street itself.
A third eyewitness interviewed at the scene by Heavy described one of the shooters as “having one of the longer guns.” The eyewitness, who only wanted her name printed as Anna, said he was “hit in the head by a skateboard and started shooting in the air. ”
The gunbattle ignited after groups of protesters were pushed back from the county courthouse by police in riot gear, who used pepper spray, rubber bullets and heavy utility vehicles to move the crowd out of a park and down the street.
Roberts also revealed a bruise on her arm from a rubber bullet and the rubber bullet itself.
An hour after the shooting, armed police had two people sitting on the sidewalk who looked under arrest.