The president said a northern Illinois teen accused of shooting anti-police demonstrators might have acted in self-defense.
The Oval Office believes Antioch, Illinois, resident Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, may have opened fire on at least four extreme anarchist protesters because he feared for his life late at night on Aug. 25.
President Donald Trump revealed graphic footage of the alleged incident that strongly suggests Rittenhouse only opened fire after falling to the ground and being attacked by protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“You saw the same tape as I saw and he was trying to get away from them,” he said in a statement. “I guess it looks like he fell and then they very violently attacked him.”
The president does not believe the teen would have pulled the trigger unless he truly believed his life was in danger.
“I guess he was in very big trouble,” he said. “He would have been … he probably would have been killed.”
Kenosha County prosecutors have already charged Rittenhouse with killing two people and injuring another, according to the criminal complaint obtained by the Guardian. Charges include the “first-degree reckless homicide” of activist Joseph Rosenbaum and “first-degree intentional homicide” of Anthony Huber.
The accused’s family categorically rejected the charges as politically motivated and maintained he was simply defending himself from a “brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group antifa.”
An online fundraising campaign successfully raised $296,042 of the original $200,000 goal to help cover the family’s legal defense costs.
“We not only made it to our initial goal of a $200,000 we have now made it to our stretch of a quarter-million dollars,” family spokesman Rob said on the GiveSendGo website. “That is absolutely fantastic, and it is all thanks to how wonderful y’all are, I really am blown away by the generosity you have all displayed, and from what I have heard, so is Kyle.”
The result came despite allegations that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter banned links to the fundraiser webpage.
“While the legality of this action is questionable, it is, unfortunately, the world in which we live—to that, I say, email and text,” Rob said. “They may try to censor us and deprive us of the ability to help people but that is the thing about light; it always gets in … this website [GiveSendGo] will continue to enjoy the success to which they are entitled, for their vigorous defense of the American right to freedom of speech.”
The family is continuing to accept pledges to help improve their chances of winning this legal battle.
“We could not have done this without you, so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much,” Rob said.
Investigations are continuing.