Kyle Rittenhouse, who faces a gun charge in Wisconsin stemming from his shooting of two men and wounding a third in Kenosha in August, will not face gun charges in his native Illinois, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The Smith & Wesson .223 caliber rifle that Rittenhouse, who lives in Antioch, Illinois, utilized in Kenosha on August 25 “was purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin” according to Antioch police. Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim issued a news release stating there was no evidence that Rittenhouse “physically possessed” the weapon in Illinois.
“An attorney working with Rittenhouse’s legal team has said the gun belonged to an unidentified friend of the teenager,” The Chicago Tribune reported, adding, “Videos show that Rittenhouse was among numerous civilians armed with rifles who interjected themselves into the protests, property destruction and looting that followed Blake’s shooting.”
Rittenhouse has been charged with murder by Kenosha County prosecutors; his attorneys have argued that sending him to an adult jail in Kenosha County would put him in danger. “He remains held in a juvenile detention center in Lake County without bond due to pending criminal charges in Kenosha. Rittenhouse is due in Lake County court on Oct. 30 for an extradition hearing,” The Chicago Sun-Times noted.
In early September, Rittenhouse, in county jail, sent a message to his supporters, stating, “I just want to thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for the underlying support, it’s just amazing. I want to thank all of you for the mail I’ve been receiving, it’s been really helpful. I just wanna let you all know that I’m gonna be out of here soon. Just stay strong, and I hope to see you guys soon.”
According to a statement from Pierce Bainbridge, Rittenhouse’s attorney, Rittenhouse had cleaned up graffiti from rioters after having finished a shift as a lifeguard in Kenosha; he later “received information about a call for help from a local” car dealership owner who allegedly needed protection for his properties, apparently “including two nearby mechanic’s shops,” from rioters and looters. Bainbridge said that Rittenhouse and a friend armed themselves and went to help.
The Daily Wire reported:
Describing the events of the incident, the statement says Rittenhouse was on his way to a mechanic’s shop when multiple rioters accosted him, recognizing him as one of the people trying to protect the shops in the area. The teen tried to flee as he was chased by the “mob,” and “[u]pon the sound of a gunshot behind him, Kyle turned and was immediately faced with an attacker lunging towards him and reaching for his rifle. He reacted instantaneously and justifiably with his weapon to protect himself, firing and striking the attacker.”
“In fear for his life and concerned the crowd would either continue to shoot at him or even use his own weapon against him, Kyle had no choice but to fire multiple rounds towards his immediate attackers, striking two, including one armed attacker,” the law firm adds.