KENOSHA, WIS. — A witness at the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse testified Friday that one of the men Rittenhouse shot was holding a gun that was loaded and ready to be fired.
Jason Lackowski, the seventh witness called by the prosecution, said he helped Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived after Rittenhouse shot and injured him in his right arm during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer. Lackowski said he helped apply a tourniquet to Grosskreutz’s arm and emptied his handgun, and that was when he observed that the gun had a bullet in the chamber.
Before shooting and injuring Grosskreutz, Rittenhouse was chased by protesters and shot and killed two other men, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. Lackowski told the court that he had observed Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot, acting “belligerently” and called him “a babbling idiot.”
Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys asked Lackowski about what he heard the crowd yelling, and Lackowski testified that he heard a protester shout “Get him!”
Lackowski, a Marine veteran, was living in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, in August of last year, nearly an hour’s drive from Kenosha. On August 25 of last year, the day of the shootings, Lackowski traveled to Kenosha with an AR-15 rifle, 28 rounds of ammunition, and a bag of medical gear with the intention of protecting businesses downtown.
Rioting had broken out in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, who was shot seven times by a white Kenosha police officer, leaving him paralyzed.
Lackowski traveled to Kenosha with Ryan Balch, an Army veteran who also armed himself to protect property in Kenosha the night of the shootings. Balch testified a day earlier on Thursday.
Rittenhouse is charged with five felonies and a misdemeanor. He has pled not guilty to charges of homicide and attempted homicide as well as unlawful possession of a firearm. His attorneys are arguing that he shot in self-defense.
The teen, now 18, traveled from Antioch, a northern Chicago suburb, to Kenosha on August 25, 2020, when he was 17 with the aim of defending businesses from looting and vandalism. Rittenhouse armed himself with a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle police say his friend illegally bought for him, and brought a medical kit as well.
On Wednesday, the jury was shown more than a dozen videos that included graphic content of the shootings, including footage of the first man Rittenhouse killed lying motionless on the ground as well as Grosskreutz screaming and bleeding from his arm. The videos also showed the protesters accosting Rittenhouse as well as the surrounding chaos and the panic of bystanders in the aftermath of the shootings.
Also testifying Thursday were Rosenbaum’s fiancée Kariann Swart and Sahil Khindri, whose father owns Car Source, the used car dealership in downtown Kenosha that Rittenhouse and other armed civilians were defending when the first shooting occurred.