Who Is Kyle Rittenhouse? 17-Year-Old ‘Militia’ Member Charged With Fatal Shooting During Kenosha Protests

Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Kyle Rittenhouse has been arrested and charged with homicide after a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that left two people dead.

The 17-year-old was taken into custody in his native Illinois on Wednesday after the incident that took place late on Tuesday, CBS News reported. He was due in court on Friday for an extradition hearing to return to Wisconsin. The incident took place during one of the protests that have arisen after the police shooting of Jacob Blake this week in the Wisconsin city.


Rittenhouse Called Himself A ‘Militia’ Member

Protesters carry a wounded person in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  Brandon Bell / Getty Images

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, the person identified as Rittenhouse was seen on live video during the protests and told interviewers that he considered himself a “militia” member there to protect life and property. There had already been days of protests in Kenosha where demonstrators set fires and destroyed property.

In one video with the Daily Caller that was shared on Twitter, Rittenhouse stood in front of a building that had windows boarded up, saying he was willing to put himself into dangerous situations and use his firearm if needed.

“People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” Rittenhouse said. “And my job also is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”

The report noted that a local militia calling itself the Kenosha Guard created a Facebook event called “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property,” calling on the local police not to send them home. A message posted by the group advocated for dialogue with officers, saying that law enforcement has been “outnumbered” during the demonstrations.

Another video appeared to show Rittenhouse, along with other members of an armed group, interacting with members of law enforcement and accepting bottles of water from the officers.

“We appreciate you guys,” one of the officers was heard saying. “We really do.”

As Al Jazeera reported, Rittenhouse appeared to be a strong supporter of law enforcement. In 2018, he made a social media post asking for donations to a group called Humanizing the Badge, which aimed to create stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.


Rittenhouse Charged With Homicide

Kenosha Sheriff's Department officers at a riot.
  Brandon Bell / Getty Images

As the Al Jazeera report stated, the teen faces a charge of first-degree intentional homicide.

Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said there were still many unclear details about the sequence of events that led to the deadly shootings.

“What I can’t tell you is what led to that disturbance, what led to use of deadly force,” Miskinis said.

Videos posted online alleged to show the teen running from the scene of a shooting, where a man was seen with a gunshot to the head.

“I just killed somebody,” the person was heard saying.

While running from the scene, the person appeared to be chased by others and opened fire after being taken to the ground. At least two people were shot during this disturbance, the video showed.