Eyewitness to Wisconsin shootings: ‘He came with a gun and was picking fights’

Kenosha, Wisconsin’s third night of Black Lives Matter demonstrations took a violent turn when a civilian armed with an assault rifle began shooting, killing two people and severely injuring another. Video of the event shared widely online shows the shooter walking away from the scene. On August 26, police arrested 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who had expressed strong support for the pro-police Blue Lives Matter movement on his Facebook page. Eyewitness and Kenosha local Ryan Cartwright told the FRANCE 24 Observers how the shooting unfolded. 

Protests have been ongoing in Kenosha since a video showed a white police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, several times in the back as he was trying to get into his car where his three children were inside on August 23. Demonstrations continue despite a city-wide curfew imposed on August 25 and increased police presence in the city. 

Cartwright has attended the protests in Kenosha since they began. He describes the moment before the shooting began on August 25:
 

We struggled up and down with the police. They pushed us back even farther and eventually, around 63rd Street and Sheridan, there’s a car dealership, the police cracked down too hard and the crowd started to disperse. That’s when people started breaking some windows and someone decided to open fire. 

The first shooting occurred at the Car Source dealership on Sheridan Road in central Kenosha. Rittenhouse is seen on video leaving the scene saying, “I just killed somebody”. 

An excerpt of a video posted to Twitter shows the moment that Rittenhouse says ‘I just killed somebody’. In the full version of this video, which the FRANCE 24 Observers is not publishing due to its graphic nature, Rittenhouse’s first victim is seen with a gunshot wound to his head.

Cartwright continues:
 

Protesters began chasing him. My brother’s friend tried to tackle him but got shot in the chest. Then a third man tried to draw his sidearm and shoot this guy who was shooting protesters. He got shot in the arm. I think he’s alive at the moment, but the other two are dead.

In the video below, Rittenhouse is seen being chased down Sheridan Road. He trips and falls, then sits up and aims his gun. He fires four shots as several people nearby fall to the ground. As onlookers yell for medical help, the shooter gets up and continues walking in the middle of the street. 

Warning: Graphic content

A video posted to Twitter on August 26, 2020 shows the moment Rittenhouse opened fire on several protesters who tried to subdue him. 

As seen in the video, police cars and armoured vehicles arrived on the scene seconds after the shooting. Still armed and walking with his hands up, the Rittenhouse walked past two armoured vehicles, passed by a police car and then walked away. As the police arrive, someone in the background is heard yelling, “Hey, he just shot them, that dude right there!” 

According to a police statement, police responded to reports of the shooting on Sheridan Road at 11:45pm. 

Cartwright says Rittenhouse walked past police as he left the scene: 
 

He didn’t run from the police, he walked right up to them and said he had shot some people and they let him keep walking.

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