Kyle Rittenhouse, on trial for the shootings of three men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, broke down crying on the witness stand on November 10, 2021, sobbing in court as he recounted the first shooting, of Joseph Rosenbaum.
You can watch video of the moment when Rittenhouse cries during live testimony here:
Watch live video of Rittenhouse’s testimony:
Rittenhouse is on trial for shooting Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber to death and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, as well as endangering the safety of two other people. The defense attorneys called Rittenhouse, 18, to the witness stand in the middle of the second week of the trial. Rittenhouse is claiming self-defense, but prosecutors have charged him with homicide and attempted murder, along with other charges.
Although calling a defendant to the stand is almost always a risky proposition for a defense team, in self-defense cases it can be necessary because the jury will be instructed that self-defense requires a showing that Rittenhouse reasonably believed his life or that of another was in imminent danger or that they were in imminent danger of great bodily harm. If prosecutors can show that Rittenhouse provoked the chain of events, it would raise the hurdle somewhat for a self-defense claim, requiring Rittenhouse to show that he had also exhausted all available means of escape.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rittenhouse Testified That Rosenbaum Was Chasing Him
Rittenhouse testified that he defended himself when Rosenbaum started chasing him toward a car outlet parking lot. Rosenbaum threw a plastic bad at him. A medical examiner previously testified that Rosenbaum was shot four times; the first wound, to the hip, came when Rosenbaum was no more than four feet from Rittenhouse and possibly closer. The second shot came to Rosenbaum’s hand. Soot indicated that Rosenbaum was either in contact with the gun with his hand or very close to it when shot. The third and fourth shots, to the head and back, came when Rosenbaum was in a horizontal position almost like Superman, Dr. Douglas Kelley testified. The chase is seen on video.
But this is the first time jurors – and the public – are getting to hear Rittenhouse’s version of what happened.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he testified.
He added, “I brought the gun to protect myself.” Rittenhouse said he thought the bag Rosenbaum threw at him was a chain that Rosenbaum was carrying earlier in the night (he’s been photographed holding it earlier.)
Prosecutors tried to establish that Rittenhouse was carrying the weapon, an AR15, illegally because he was 17 at the time. That is also a charge against Rittenhouse, but it’s a misdemeanor punishable with only 9 months incarceration. You can see him carrying the gun on many videos and in photos. He also was not a certified EMT, and lied about that, prosecutor Thomas Binger said, trying to show that Rittenhouse has lied about things. He acknowledged to Binger that he used deadly force.
“I didn’t know if it was going to kill them, but I used deadly force to stop the threat that was attacking me, Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse Says Gaige Grosskreutz Had a Pistol Pointed at Him
Rittenhouse was also asked about the other two shootings. Gaige Grosskreutz was shot and lived. “My rifle is down. His hands are up. His pistol is in his hand, and then he looks at me, and that’s when he brings his arm down…like his arm is like that with me on the ground and his pistol is pointed at me,” Rittenhouse testified about the moment he shot him.
“That’s when I shoot him.” Grosskreutz testified before the prosecution rested and admitted on the witness stand that he was pointing a gun at Rittenhouse from three-five feet away and was advancing toward Rittenhouse when Rittenhouse shot him. He also testified that he feared for Rittenhouse’s safety from Huber, who was hitting him with a skateboard after rushing toward him.
Grosskreutz testified that he believed Rittenhouse was an active shooter. After shooting Rosenbaum first, Rittenhouse had run down the street, testimony indicates toward the police, but he fell in the middle of the street. That’s when Huber rushed him, and then Grosskreutz approached. Those shootings are on video.
“As I’m running past Mr. Huber, he’s holding a skateboard like a baseball bat and he swings it down and I block it with my arm trying to prevent it from hitting me, but it still hits me in the neck. And as I block it, it goes flying somewhere off into the distance,” Rittenhouse said. “As I’m on the ground, there are people around me, I don’t recall how many, but I remember moving my rifle in their direction and they back off besides one person.” The defense introduced a photo they say shows Huber making contact with Rittenhouse’s gun. They are arguing Huber and Rosenbaum were trying to disarm Rittenhouse.
He also described a kick from an unidentified man known only as “jump kick man,” who is seen on video rushing him. He’s charged with endangering that man’s safety.
“As his boot is making contact with my face, I fire two shots at him,” Rittenhouse said.
“Why did you shoot at him?” defense attorney Mike Richards asked.
“He would have stomped my face in if I didn’t fire,” Rittenhouse replied.
You can see video in the case here.
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