KENOSHA, Wis. - In a dramatic moment Wednesday in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked prosecution witness Gaige Grosskreutz: “It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him...that he fired, right?”
“Correct,” Grosskreutz replied.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is on trial for the murder of two men and injuring Grosskreutz.
The former police youth cadet from Antioch, Illinois, has stated he had gone to Kenosha last August 25, 2020, with a semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit to protect life and property during violent protests and proceeding riots over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Earlier in that August day, Rittenhouse was filmed cleaning graffiti off of buildings and, in the evening, before the shooting incidents occurred, he was filmed offering medical aid to the protesters.
Grosskreutz, 27, has claimed that he had gone to the demonstration in Kenosha as a medic and testified about his experience working as an EMT and a paramedic for a private ambulance company in Milwaukee. The night of the incident, Grosskreutz testified he had treated about 10 people for injuries from pepper spray and rubber bullets, before encountering Rittenhouse.
Their paths collided when Rittenhouse, by himself but carrying a rifle, was confronted by 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum. Kenosha Police detectives confirmed that Rosenbaum was "in-hiding" between a group of parked cars and wearing a mask as Rittenhouse ran by. Words appeared to be exchanged between the two but Rittenhouse is heard on eyewitness video recordings yelling, "Friendly! Friendly! Friendly!" Rittenhouse then continued to move in the direction he was previously moving and Rosenbaum started to chase Rittenhouse through a parking lot.
As Rittenhouse is running away, Rosenbaum throws something (later discovered to be a plastic bag) at Rittenhouse moments before Kenosha Police detectives testified that a fourth man, Joshua Ziminski, fired a gunshot in the air. Rosenbaum yelled, "F--- you," and lunged for Rittenhouse's firearm. At which time, Rittenhouse fired four shots at Joseph Rosenbaum, killing him.
Videos show another three shots were fired immediately afterward by a different firearm, but investigators still do not know who fired those shots.
Grosskreutz, roughly a block away from this action, testified that he ran toward what we now know was the sound of those gunshots.
Rittenhouse began to run from the Rosenbaum scene and different people were pointing out Rittenhouse and yelling that he had just shot a man. A crowd started to chase Rittenhouse down the street.
“Get him! Get that dude!” one person is heard shouting.
“I thought the defendant was an active shooter,” the 27-year-old Grosskreutz said, further testifying that he unholstered his handgun as part of the group following Rittenhouse down the street. Asked what was going through his mind as he got closer to the 17-year-old Rittenhouse, he said, “That I was going to die.”
Someone tries to hit Rittenhouse in the head from behind. Rittenhouse continues to run but falls on the pavement and was surrounded by the crowd. A man jumps and kicks Rittenhouse in the head and Rittenhouse fires two shots at that man but both shots miss.
While Rittenhouse is on his back on the ground, another man approaches and swings his skateboard at Rittenhouse with one hand and reaches for Rittenhouse's rifle with his other hand. This man would later be identified as Anthony Huber, 26. Rittenhouse fires one shot striking Huber in the chest, fatally wounding him.
A third man, Grosskreutz, approaches Rittenhouse with his hands raised. Grosskreutz's Glock pistol is in his right hand but it is not pointed at Rittenhouse at this time.
Grosskreutz testified he then saw Rittenhouse rerack his weapon and so moved to defend himself.
Rittenhouse fired one round, hitting Grosskreutz in the right bicep.
You can view the incident in real-time video acquired by the Sun-Times:
Grosskreutz admitted his concealed carry weapons license had expired and he did not have one on him at the time.
Grosskreutz said he didn’t intend to shoot Rittenhouse but during cross-examination, Rittenhouse defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked the question from above: “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him...that he fired, right?”
“Correct,” Grosskreutz replied.
The defense also presented a photo showing Grosskreutz pointing the gun at Rittenhouse, who was on the ground with his rifle pointed up at Grosskreutz.
Wisconsin’s self-defense law allows someone to use deadly force only if “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” The jury must decide whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such peril and whether that belief was reasonable under the circumstances.
Prosecutors have attempted to portray Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed. His lawyers have argued that he acted in self-defense.
Rittenhouse attempted to surrender to police in the immediate aftermath that night but, in the confusion, Kenosha authorities did not take him into custody so Rittenhouse turned himself in to the Antioch Police department in Illinois about an hour later.
He has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree attempted intentional homicide. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him.
Gaige Grosskreutz has filed a lawsuit suing the city, the county, and several law enforcement officers, claiming they condoned the efforts of white nationalists to violently dispel demonstrators protesting a police shooting.
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