Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two people during a protest march in Kenosha Wisconsin over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, thanked supporters during a call made by one of his lawyers on Tuesday (Sept. 1). The video of the call was posted to Twitter.
“I just wanna thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for the underlying support,” said Rittenhouse, whose voice was heard through a speaker, according to Fox News. “I just want to thank all of you for the mail I’ve been receiving. It’s been really helpful.”
Rittenhouse was charged with first degree homicide, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and a misdemeanor weapons use in the Aug. 25 shooting deaths of Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36. Another person, Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was also reportedly shot and wounded.
Blake was shot seven times Aug. 23 by Kenosha officer, Rusten Shesky. The policeman is on administrative leave pending an investigation from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Rittenhouse’s attorney John Pierce said the 17-year-old, who had traveled from his home in Antioch, Ill, illegally armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, was acting in self-defense and was being attacked by protesters.
"If this is not self-defense for Kyle Rittenhouse under the circumstances, then no one can protect themselves, no one can protect their family and no one can protect their country," Pierce said in the video, calling the suspect’s action a “God-given right.”
"We are not going to allow a prosecutor in Kenosha, Wis., to take it away from Kyle," Pierce said.
Rittenhouse was also spotted in a July 1 video in downtown Kenosha inserting himself into an argument between two women, along with another man. Soon after, a third young woman gets into a scuffle with one of the other women. At that point, Rittenhouse begins to punch one of the women as the other man tries to hold him back. It is unclear if there were any charges brought against Rittenhouse in that incident.
On Tuesday, during a press conference in Kenosha President Trump defended Rittenhouse as well, also suggesting he acted in his own defense. “That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. He [Rittenhouse] was trying to get away from them, I guess it looks like. And he fell. And then they [protesters] very violently attacked him,” said Trump. "I guess he [Rittenhouse] was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed."
That same day, Blake’s family held a “Justice for Jacob” event in which voter registration and coronavirus testing was offered, according to CBS News. Blake’s uncle, Justin, spoke to a cheering crowd, criticizing Trump. "We need a president that's going to unite our country and take us in a different direction," he said.
Rittenhouse is being held in a juvenile detention facility in Illinois, pending extradition to Wisconsin. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25.