A 19-year-old man has been charged with illegally supplying the assault-style rifle that Illinois teen Kyle Rittenhouse used to kill two Black Lives Matter protesters during a chaotic night of demonstrations in Wisconsin.
Dominick Black, who appeared in court Monday, bought the weapon for his friend last summer and falsely indicated in signed paperwork that he was buying it for himself, according to records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Black reportedly kept the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle at his stepfather’s home in Kenosha, the small southern Wisconsin city where protests erupted in late August over the police shooting of unarmed Black man Jacob Blake.
Just two days after the Aug. 23 shooting, which left Blake paralyzed from the waist down, Black asked his 17-year-old pal to help him guard a business in downtown Kenosha amid clashes between police and demonstrators, authorities said.
Rittenhouse — whose age prevents him from legally carrying a firearm in Wisconsin unless he is hunting — traveled to Kenosha from neighboring Illinois that night, armed himself with the rifle Black brought him and freely walked through the streets with the weapon slung over his shoulder, according to police and cellphone videos from the scene.
At one point that night, Rittenhouse used the rifle to fatally shoot 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber during an apparent confrontation over the teen’s weapon, police said. He also shot and wounded a third protester, Gaige Grosskreutz, who was also armed.
Rittenhouse has been charged with multiple felonies, including intentional homicide and illegally possessing a gun.
His friend, who reportedly acknowledged knowing it was illegal to give a firearm to an underage person, was charged Friday with two felony counts of supplying a dangerous weapon to a minor causing death.
Black told investigators that he recalls telling Rittenhouse at the time, “In all reality, you are not supposed to have that gun. That gun was in my name,” the Journal Sentinel reported. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Rittenhouse, who could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted, insists the shooting was in self-defense. The white teen has been hailed as a hero by far-right politicians and pundits who see him as a patriot exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms — even if prosecutors say he did so illegally.
Critics, however, have described Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist, saying his armed presence in a racial justice demonstration helped incite street violence.
Rittenhouse is being held on $2 million bond. Black was released from custody Monday, jail records show.
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