Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, where he was grilled as to his actions on the night of August 25, 2020. The defense questioned Rittenhouse about what went on that night. Rittenhouse testified that Joshua Zaminsky approached him with a pistol at the Car Source lot 3 was, which he went to after having been asked to put out fires there.
As he was walking away from that lot, he testified that he "looked back over his shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum was now running by my right side, and I was cornered from in front of me with Mr. Zaminsky and there were three people right there," he said, breaking down in choking tears. At this point, the judge called for a short break.
After the break, Rittenhouse testified as to the interaction with Rosenbaum. He didn't keep running, he said, because between the cars and the people, there was nowhere to go.
It was after Rosenbaum approached him, putting his hands on the barrel of the gun, Rittenhouse said, that he shot Rosenbaum four times. He then tried to help Rosenbaum, and noticed that journalist Richie McGinnis was there, took off his helmet, and took off his shirt to help Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse testified that he heard people saying "get him," called his friend Dominic Black to tell him what happened, and ran to turn himself into law enforcement. He heard people saying "cranium him, and kill him."
When asked why he was going to police, he said "because I didn't do anything wrong, I defended himself." As he ran, he testified, Anthony Huber, the second man he shot that night, hit him in the head with a skateboard.
Rittenhouse testified that he tried to block Huber's hitting him with a skateboard, and kept running. He said he "got light-headed... stumbled and hit the ground." He was hit with a rock, he said, as well as the skateboard.
Once he was on the ground, Rittenhouse told the jury, that people were around him, and he "moved his rifle in their direction and they backed off except for one person." That person "kept coming."
"The last person, I don't know his name, I don't think he was ever identified, jumps at me, he was wearing boots I believe... as his boot is making contact with my face, I fired two shots at him." Rittenhouse said he did this to protect himself from having his face kicked in.
"Mr Huber runs up, he, as I'm getting up, he strikes me in the neck with his skateboard a second time... and he grabs my gun." At that point, he "fired one shot," he said.
It was at that point that he saw Gaige Grosskreutz, who "lunged at me with his pistol pointed directly to my head." Rittenhouse testified that he did not "re-rack" his weapon, though Grosskreutz testified on Tuesday that he did so so.
Rittenhouse testified that his feet and Grosskreutz "feet were touching" when Grosskreutz aimed his pistol at him. At this point, Rittenhouse shot him once. "He was no longer a threat to me," he said.
Another man was there, with his hands up, as Rittenhouse tried to get up. Rittenhouse testified that he pointed his rifle at him but that he was not a threat and did not shoot. There was another man there with a pipe, and another with what Rittenhouse said "was a fence post or another large object." Rittenhouse then proceeded toward the police line.
Rittenhouse said he ran and walked toward the line, and put his hands up. He said he "couldn't really hear anything," and that his "vision was very narrow." He moved his rifle to his back so that he would not be seen as a threat. He told an officer "I just shot somebody."
The officer told him to get back or he would be pepper sprayed and to "go home go home go home."
Rittenhouse went back to the Car Source lot number 3. He was unable to turn himself in at the local police station, but went back to his mother's house in Antioch, Ill., and turned himself in at a police station there.
The defense began their questioning by establishing Rittenhouse's ties to Kenosha, where his father and extended family lived, and his intentions in coming to Kenosha on that night.
Rittenhouse detailed his actions of August 25. His account of the timeline of his activities that night began with cleaning graffiti off of a high school, before going to a Car Source lot and seeing burned cars in the lots, and offered his help to the owners of that business.
Rittenhouse testified that he had a rifle, and a sling for that rifle, but did not feel a need to wear his bulletproof vest, which was issued to him by the police department previously. He recounts coordinating with the owner of a Car Source lot to protect the business, and putting out fires.
There was no "friction" between his group and protestors, Rittenhouse said, other than Joseph Rosenbaum threatening to kill him twice. This was prior to the altercation between the two of them that resulted in Rosenbaum's death.
Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum said to him "If I catch any of you f*ckers alone I'm going to f*cking kill you," and that Rosenbaum later said to others of his group, "I'm going to cut your f*cking hearts out and kill you n-words," Rittenhouse recounted, declining to say the word in court. This matches what independent journalist Richie McGinnis testified to on Tuesday.
Rittenhouse testified that he was pepper-sprayed by "someone in the crowd," and did not retaliate to that.
Rittenhouse said that he linked up with McGinnis, saying that he could come with Rittenhouse and his friend Ryan Balch, if he wanted to document the night. Rittenhouse said that though he has first aid training, he is not an EMT and was not then, but was out that night with the intention of offering aid to those who needed it.
He testified that he encountered the man attorneys were referring to as "Jump Kick Man," who accused him of pointing a rifle at him. Rittenhouse said that he did not do that. Rittenhouse was separated from his friend around this point, and went to look for him in the parking lot of a gas station.
When he was unable to find his friend, he tried to go back to the Car Source lot, but was unable to get through a police blockade, and he was not able to go back there. Rittenhouse testified that he went back to the gas station, which he believed "was the safest place to go."
He received a phone call, he said, from Dominic Black, asking him to go to another Car Source lot to put out fires and try to stop rioters from destroying the cars on that lot. Rittenhouse said he started running to that lot, offering aid along the way.
Rittenhouse said that Rosenbaum "came out from behind [a] car and ambushed me" after he got to that lot. He testified that people were shouting "burn in hell," and he replied with "friendly friendly friendly."
It was after this that he began to describe the events that led directly to his shooting Rosenbaum.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.