KENOSHA, WI—During the third night of protests after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, two people were killed and a third was wounded during a shooting on Tuesday, August 25.
According to a press release from the Kenosha Police Department, they responded to reports of gunshots fired around 63rd Street and Sheridan Road at 11:45 p.m.
Witness accounts and videos of the incident posted to social media stated the gunman first shot one person in a car lot before jogging away, falling into the street, and opening fire on a crowd of people with an AR-5-style rifle.
One man, who appeared to have been shot in the head, was aided by several people attempting to treat his wound and keep him alive. Another man, with a severe arm wound, sat on the ground and was tended to by an armed man before the police approached.
The crowd, seen closing in on the gunman, dispersed as authorities arrived on the scene, and the gunman is seen standing up, walking past the responders with his hands in the air, and leaving the scene unquestioned. People are heard yelling on a video to arrest the gunman.
In a statement describing the incident, Kenosha Sheriff David Beth depicted the evening of August 25 as a “chaotic, high-stress scene, with lots of radio traffic and people screaming, chanting and running.” He assumes the gunman passed by the police officers unnoticed as they arrived at the disordered scene.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, was taken into custody by Illinois police on the August 26 under suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.
Rittenhouse, who has been assigned a public defender in Illinois, will be transferred to Wisconsin after a hearing on Friday, August 28. Anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult within the Wisconsin criminal justice system.
In Rittenhouse’s profile photo on Facebook, he can be seen holding an assault rifle. His profiles bio states, “17, Cadet, future Police officer, friendly, respectful.”
Rittenhouse’s mother posted to his Facebook page on Thursday, August 27, “Please don’t believe what the mainstream media is portraying, because my son isn’t a murderer, he defended himself. That’s all I can say on the matter for now and I’ll do an open letter within the next couple day’s…For those of you threatening Kyle with his life… I feel sorry for you.”
A self-styled militia, titled the Kenosha Guard, has begun patrolling the streets standing guard outside local businesses in an effort to protect them from looters and or arsonists.
The Kenosha Guard posted to Facebook on August 26, “We are unaware if the armed citizen was answering the Kenosha Guard Militia’s call to arms…Just like with the shooting Jacob Blake, we need all the facts and evidence to come out before we make a judgement. God Bless and stay safe Kenosha!”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers initially deployed 250 members of the National Guard after the first night of demonstrations on August 23.
He took to Twitter on August 25 to address the call for an increased National Guard presence, “We are assessing the damage to state property and will be increasing the presence of the Wisconsin National Guard to ensure individuals can exercise their right safely, protect state buildings and critical infrastructure, and support first responders and firefighters.”
On Wednesday, August 26, District 9 Chairman John J. O’Day and District 18 Vice Chairwoman Monica Yuhas released the contents of a letter they sent to Governor Evers requesting further aid, “Our county is under attack, our businesses are under attack. Our homes are under attack. Our local law enforcement agencies need additional support to help bring civility back to our community. We are formally asking for 1,500 National Guard members with police powers to be sent to Kenosha County immediately.”
O’Day and Yuhas’s letter to the governor pointedly ended, “We encourage you to visit Kenosha County and see firsthand the destruction that has been inflicted on our community.”
Senator Ron Johnson posted to Twitter on the evening of the 25th, “@potus @realDonaldTrump offered help for Kenosha, Governor Evers turned it down. I hope Governor Evers doesn’t regret that decision.”
Senator Johnson commented that “It is heartbreaking that the violence in Kenosha has now escalated to include the loss of human life. Although it will not guarantee peace, @GovEvers should reconsider his refusal to accept @potus offer to send more personnel to restore order.”
The residency and age of the shooting victims were identified on August 26. Of the two who were killed one was a 26-year-old from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and the other was a 36-year-old from Kenosha. The person injured, a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wisconsin, is expected to recover.
The Kenosha Police Department is asking anyone who witnessed the shooting to contact the Kenosha Police Department Detective Bureau at 262-605-5203. If the caller wishes to remain anonymous they could contact Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262-656-7333.