Kyle Rittenhouse broke down in tears during is trial Wednesday morning after taking the witness stand to describe the events of August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the then 17-year-old shot multiple rioters, killing two. Rittenhouse maintains that he was acting in self-defense.
During his testimony, the defendant said he didn’t have any issues with the demonstrators that evening, except for Joseph Rosenbaum, who Rittenhouse described as “the man who said he would kill me twice.”
He said that Rosenbaum threatened to “cut his heart out.”
In the moments leading up to the fatal shooting, Rittenhouse described how Rosenbaum yelled “burn in hell” at the teen. In an attempt to calm Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse said he yelled back “friendly, friendly, friendly,” but Rosenbaum still chased him.
Rittenhouse then described being cornered by Rosenbaum and another individual, at which point the teen broke down in tears, gasping for air and unable to speak.
The judge then stopped the proceedings and called for a 10 minute recess.
In his testimony, Rittenhouse said that he went to Kenosha to offer medical
aid to injured individuals and carried a rifle to protect himself. Then-17-year-old Rittenhouse was part of a group of volunteers who protected Kenosha businesses during protests that escalated into looting and rioting that erupted in reaction to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
After taking the stand, Rittenhouse was asked if he went to Kenosha “looking for trouble,” to which the young man responded, “No.”
Rittenhouse said he gave his bullet proof vest – which was previously issued
to him by the Grayslake Police Department – to his friend. He said he didn’t
think he would need it because he would be “helping people.”
Earlier this week, the man shot by Rittenhouse admitted Rittenhouse didn’t pull the trigger on his rifle until a handgun was aimed at him.
Gaige Grosskreutz testified in court on Monday that only when he aimed his handgun at Rittenhouse did Rittenhouse fire at him. Rittenhouse’s bullet struck Grosskreutz in the bicep, which he described as “being vaporized.”
Immediately after Grosskreutz’s admission, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was shown on courtroom video with his face in his hand.
Rittenhouse faces one misdemeanor and five felonies, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. He was jailed for two months in fall 2020 before posting $2 million bail thanks to a crowdfunding effort.