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Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen charged with killing two in Kenosha, will fight extradition

Holding signs, left to right, Matt Muchowski of Waukegan, Vance Wyatt of North Chicago, and Donald Blake of Waukegan hold signs outside the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, IL to remember victims of alleged Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, of Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
September 25, 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorneys said Friday morning that they plan to fight his return to Wisconsin to face charges alleging he fatally shot two people and wounded a third during protests in Kenosha last month.

Defendants sometimes waive their right to fight extradition, but a lawyer for the 17-year-old from Antioch told Lake County, Ill., Judge Paul Novak during an online hearing that they want further proceedings in Illinois to contest that process.

Rittenhouse has been held without bail in Lake County’s juvenile detention facility since his arrest a month ago. Kenosha County prosecutors have charged him with shooting three men with an AR-15-style rifle Aug. 25 during violent protests over white police Officer Rusten Sheskey’s shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake a couple of days earlier.

Videos show that Rittenhouse — an ardent supporter of police who participated in groups for aspiring officers — was among numerous civilians armed with rifles who interjected themselves into the protests, property destruction and looting that followed Blake’s shooting.

His lawyers have contended he clearly fired in self-defense. Defense lawyers in Wisconsin have said the success or failure of a courtroom self-defense claim could hinge on questions about the teen’s actions before he fired and details that have yet to emerge.

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If convicted of murder as an adult, Rittenhouse could face a life sentence.

There is plentiful video footage from the night of the Kenosha shootings, and it forms both the basis of prosecutors’ charges and a statement Pierce released in Rittenhouse’s defense shortly after the teen was charged.

Kenosha County prosecutors wrote that video showed the teen running across a parking lot, trailed by Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha. Video showed Rosenbaum appearing to throw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse and missing him, prosecutors wrote. A witness told police that Rosenbaum, who appeared on video to be unarmed, had tried to grab the gun before he was fatally shot, prosecutors wrote.

In his statement, Pierce wrote that Rittenhouse was justified in shooting “an attacker lunging towards him and reaching for his rifle.”

Rittenhouse then ran before someone knocked off his hat, and he tripped and fell, prosecutors wrote. A man carrying a skateboard and later identified as Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, approached Rittenhouse as he was still on his back, prosecutors wrote. Huber tried to grab the gun as the skateboard “(made) contact” with Rittenhouse’s shoulder before the alleged gunman fired one shot, and Huber collapsed and died, prosecutors alleged.

Prosecutors wrote that Rittenhouse then shot a man who had approached him, Gaige Grosskreutz of West Allis. Grosskreutz appeared to be holding a handgun when he was wounded in the arm, prosecutors wrote.

Pierce’s statement said that Rittenhouse feared he’d be disarmed and killed and “had no choice but to fire multiple rounds towards his immediate attackers.”

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© 2020 Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.