Many of the prosecution's witnesses in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial suggested the teenager opened fire in self-defense
- Prosecutors rested their homicide case against
Kyle Rittenhouseon Tuesday.
- Many of the witnesses they called made statements that supported Rittenhouse's self-defense claim.
Prosecutors in the Kyle Rittenhouse
Rittenhouse has said he shot three men on August 25, 2020, because each pursued him on the streets of downtown
Most of the charges hinge upon whether the then-17-year-old reasonably feared for his life at the moment he pulled the trigger. Many of the state's witnesses - including Grosskreutz - said Rittenhouse didn't pull the trigger until each of the men approached him and made threatening-looking movements.
Richie McGinniss, a videographer who was just feet away, testified that the first man Rittenhouse shot, the 36-year-old Rosenbaum, had chased Rittenhouse into the parking lot of a car dealership and lunged for the teenager's AR-15 rifle.
Many of the prosecution's witnesses described Rosenbaum's conduct that evening in colorful terms. Ryan Balch, who said he was one of the armed civilians guarding local businesses alongside Rittenhouse that evening, described Rosenbaum as "hyperaggressive" and "aggravated." A Kenosha livestreamer, Koerri Washington, testified that Rosenbaum was "behaving erratically." Jason Lackowski, another armed civilian, described Rosenbaum as "a babbling idiot."
Even Rosenbaum's fiancée, Kariann Swart, testified that she had warned Rosenbaum not to go downtown that evening because of the civil unrest. She also testified about the medications Rosenbaum was taking for bipolar disorder.
Prosecutors repeatedly asked witnesses whether they had ever seen Rosenbaum hitting, punching, or kicking another person or carrying or using weapons. The state's witnesses all said they hadn't.
A key witness testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse's gun
Balch and Lackowski said they saw Rosenbaum attempting to set fires, being restrained by other people, and using the N-word while shouting at armed men to "shoot me." Balch said Rosenbaum even threatened him and Rittenhouse, quoting him as warning, "I catch any of you guys alone tonight, I'm going to fucking kill you."
McGinniss, the video director for the conservative
"It was very clear to me that he was reaching specifically for the weapon, because that's where his hands went," McGinniss said, adding: "Kyle Rittenhouse dodged around it, and then leveled the weapon, and fired."
Dr. Douglas Kelley, a forensic pathologist who examined Rosenbaum's body, testified that Rosenbaum was shot four times from within 4 feet away. Kelley said the first shots went into Rosenbaum's groin, hand, and thigh while he faced forward, and the final two shots went into his head and back at a downward angle as he turned horizontally to Rittenhouse.
Prosecutors suggested that the angle of the final two shots meant that Rosenbaum was falling while he was shot, while Rittenhouse's attorneys argued that the angle of the shots signaled Rosenbaum was lunging at Rittenhouse. Kelley testified that both scenarios were possible.
Grosskreutz agreed that he had pointed his gun at Rittenhouse
The second man Rittenhouse shot, the 26-year-old Huber, was seen on video swinging a skateboard at Rittenhouse shortly after the Rosenbaum shooting. A crowd of people had chased the teenager down Sheridan Road, a major street in Kenosha, and Rittenhouse at one point fell to the ground and aimed his rifle at the men running up to him.
Grosskreutz, the only man who survived being shot that night, is a trained EMT and paramedic who was volunteering and livestreaming in Kenosha. He testified that as he ran toward Rittenhouse, who was still lying on the ground, he saw two men approach the teenager first - one of whom was Huber.
"I'd seen an individual jump over the defendant, then heard two shots, and from there I saw another individual use a skateboard to hit the defendant," Grosskreutz said, referring to Huber. "From there, I heard another shot."
Grosskreutz testified that he believed he was running after an "active shooter." He said Rittenhouse made confusing comments to him as he initially ran past and then saw a group of people running after Rittenhouse and yelling that the teenager had just shot someone.
Grosskreutz said he drew his pistol from a holster concealed at the small of his back and then ran toward Rittenhouse, too. Videos and photos show Grosskreutz approaching Rittenhouse and briefly pausing to raise both hands in the air, then darting forward with the pistol still in his hand. Rittenhouse then opened fire, blowing off Grosskreutz's bicep.
Grosskreutz testified that he "was never trying to kill" Rittenhouse and that he darted forward because he believed Rittenhouse was "reracking" his weapon and refusing to accept Grosskreutz's surrender.
Upon cross-examination, Grosskreutz agreed that his gun had been pointed at Rittenhouse as the teenager opened fire.
"It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun - now your hands down, pointed at him - that he fired, correct?" Rittenhouse's attorney Corey Chirafisi said.
"Correct," Grosskreutz said.
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