The lawyer representing Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., said Monday that his client was carrying his gun legally and acted in self-defense against a mob of protesters who were threatening him.
“This is 100 percent self-defense,” Rittenhouse’s lawyer John Pierce said on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight. “The only individuals Kyle shot were the three individuals attacking him and putting him at risk. This is a 17-year-old kid, this is amazing what he did.”
On the third night of protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Rittenhouse, who is from a nearby town in Illinois, carried an AR-15-style rifle and was attempting to protect businesses from being looted or set ablaze by demonstrators, his lawyer said.
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber — and shot Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm, injuring him.
Rittenhouse has been charged as an adult with six criminal counts, including two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by an underage individual.
Rosenbaum was “leading the attack” on Rittenhouse and “began to assault him from behind, attempted to take his weapon, take his firearm, and Kyle, when he turned, he instantaneously had no choice but to defend himself by firing because he was in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death,” Pierce said.
“They began screaming that Kyle needed to be killed, and they were going to kill him. They started relentlessly hunting him as prey as he ran down the street attempting to retreat,” the lawyer said. Rittenhouse ended up falling in the street, where he shot two people who were attacking him while he lay on the ground. One of the men who charged at Rittenhouse while he lay on the ground was armed with a pistol.
Pierce added that Rittenhouse retrieved the rifle he used after crossing into Wisconsin, and said that his client and a friend only traveled to Kenosha after a local businessman asked them for help defending his property. The lawyer also said he will fight the underage weapons possession charge by arguing that the 17-year-old was entitled to carry a rifle under the Second Amendment’s “well regulated Militia” clause, which suggests Pierce will argue that Wisconsin’s ban on gun possession by underage individuals in unconstitutional.
“That is a legal firearm in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is an open carry state. That charge is incorrect as a matter of state law,” Pierce said.
President Trump on Monday appeared to defend Rittenhouse but noted that the incident is under investigation.
“He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like,” Trump said. “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”