Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother stated in a “Nightly News” interview on the day of closing arguments in his homicide trial that he would have been killed amid unrest last year if he had not been carrying his semiautomatic gun.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder gave 2 1/2 hours each to the prosecution and Rittenhouse’s defense on Monday, Nov. 15.
“I’m scared. I am overwhelmed,” the defendant’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, told NBC News.
“Twelve people have my son’s life in their hands,” she said of the jurors. “I will always stand by him.”
Rittenhouse, then 17, fatally shot two men and injured a third during a chaotic night of anti-racial injustice rallies in the summer of 2020.
Rittenhouse stated that he traveled to Kenosha from Antioch, Illinois, to safeguard property from riots in the days following the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse, a former police youth cadet, and those he fired on are white.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is accused of killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, on Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
He might face charges ranging from intentional homicide, which could put him in prison for the rest of his life, to an underage weapons charge, which could put him in jail for a few months if convicted.
The adolescent said he acted in self-defense. Rittenhouse testified last Wednesday, sobbing over his part in the violence, but claiming that he had little choice. He stated that each of the shooting victims had physically attacked him.
“I didn’t intend to kill them,” he said. “I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.”
Rittenhouse’s mother told NBC News that her son was simply one of many people who “shouldn’t have been there” when large parts of Kenosha were set ablaze during the BLM riots.
“He went down there to help. And he was chased by a mob,” she insisted.
“He [brought] that gun for protection, and to this day if he didn’t have that gun, my son would’ve been dead,” she said.
Legal experts have said Rittenhouse was backed up by a slew of witnesses who presented compelling accounts that supported the teen’s claim that he opened fire in self-defense, New York Post reported.
Videographer Richie McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum was the one who chased after Rittenhouse, throwing objects at him and then lunging at him. In addition, Grosskreutz, the only survivor of the shooting, also admitted that he was only shot when he pointed his own handgun at the teen.
According to John Eason, an assistant sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it might be a turning point in “the whole racial awakening.”
“All signs are this is going to be the case that vindicates white people,” Eason predicted.
“If the peak of the country’s social justice reckoning was George Floyd, then this is the pendulum swinging back. This is the tipping point back,” the professor told NBC Chicago.