Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother says her son should not have been in Kenosha the night he shot two protesters dead as she casts blame on police for failing to protect the city amid civil unrest.
Rittenhouse, 17, attended protests decrying the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25 and prosecutors said he shot and killed two protesters and injured a third with his AR-15 style rifle.
His mother Wendy Rittenhouse has conceded that her son should not have been at the protests at all.
‘It’s a tragedy what happened to Mr. Blake. It is. But my son and everybody else should not have been in Kenosha,’ she said to the Chicago Tribune.
She said she had no idea where he was as she had worked a 16-hour shift as a certified nursing assistant at a local nursing home and slept late the next morning, unaware of her son’s plans.
She said her son later told her he was trying to ‘protect’ a used car dealership amid the protests, prompting Wendy to point fingers towards authorities.
‘The police should have helped the businesses out instead of having a 17-year-old kid helping,’ Wendy said.
Despite the devastating killings, she defended her son’s right to bear arms.
‘I believe in my Second Amendment. I do. I’m 100 percent right to bear arms. If it’s a handgun, a 12-gauge, a 22, AR-15. You have to respect the gun. And I told my son, “you have to respect the gun” and everything like that,’ she said.
Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy Rittenhouse says her son should not have been in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25 where he shot two protesters and injured a third amid civil unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Wendy and Kyle Rittenhouse pictured left in an undated photo
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third on the streets of Kenosha on August 25. His attorneys have said Rittenhouse acted in self-defense and have portrayed him as a courageous patriot who was exercising his right to bear arms
Kyle Rittenhouse had traveled from their home in Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha and was one of the several vigilantes who walked down the streets with guns as police did practically nothing to stop them.
Wendy said her son and his friend Dominic Black initially went to Kenosha to help clean graffiti off a school. Once there they learned about a used car dealership that had been hit hard in protests the night before and they offered to protect the business.
Wendy admitted the job wasn’t fitting for a teen but blamed police officers for failing to protect businesses and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for failing to send out reinforcements into the streets.
‘The police should have been involved with these people that lost their businesses. They should have stepped up. I’m not mad at the police. I’m not. They have a hard enough job as it is,’ she said.
Wendy, a 45-year-old single mother-of-three, said that her son does not belong to any militia group. Prosecutors have also not suggested any connection between Rittenhouse and militias.
According to police reports Black, then 18, purchased the gun for Rittenhouse, earlier this year in northern Wisconsin and Black kept the gun at his stepfather’s house in Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of two protesters: Joseph Rosenbaum (left) and Anthony Huber (right)
Video shows that Rittenhouse tripped in the street before 26-year-old Anthony Huber hit him with a skateboard and tried to take his rifle away. Rittenhouse opened fire, killing Huber
Rittenhouse then shot and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who was holding a handgun at the time, as he approached the teenager
Wendy said she checked in with her son around midnight and he sent her a text message saying he was okay and that he was going to be ‘doing medics’ at the protests in Kenosha.
She woke up in the middle of the night and learned of the violence in Kenosha and started to search for him. When she returned home Rittenhouse was already there, pale and crying.
She said her memories were ‘fuzzy’ but that she spoke with Rittenhouse for about 20 minutes before they decided to go to the Antioch Police Department.
There he told authorities he shot two people and killed at least one, as per police records.
Wendy is resolute in her claim that her son acted in self-defense. She said she watched video of the shootings in small increments and in response said: ‘Self-defense. He was in danger.’
In the Kenosha protests, Rittenhouse is accused of shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, who died from their injuries.
Rittenhouse is charged with killing two people and injuring a third during the late August demonstration. Pictured in a hearing in Lake County, Illinois on October 30
A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz was shot in the arm and survived. Prosecutors said he was armed with a gun.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys say he shot all the men in self defense.
Kimberly Motley, the attorney for Grosskreutz, said it was concerning that no one barred the teenager from going across state lines to the protest with a gun in the midst of a pandemic.
‘I cannot think of any good reason why Rittenhouse was carrying a weapon on the streets during the protests, and I don’t think he can either,’ she said to the Tribune.
In the new interview Wendy once again tried to deflect blame for the shootings away from her son.
‘No one should have been there,’ she said.
‘The protesters should not have been there, also. My son shouldn’t have been there either,’ she added.
Rittenhouse is currently in jail on a murder charge and other counts. He’s been held there since October 30, the day he was extradited from Lake County, Illinois to Wisconsin.
Citing ‘the incredibly serious charges’ a Kenosha County Court Commissioner found him to be a flight risk and his bail was set at $2million.
Wendy and her son’s attorneys are now trying to raise money for his release and legal defense fund.
When asked if her son could leave the area before a trial, Wendy said: ‘I have $1.20 in my account. You think I can get on a plane?’
The rifle used in the Kenosha shooting that was seized from the trunk of Kyle Rittenhouse’s friend’s car hours after the shooting above
Rittenhouse’s cause has raised a substantial amount of donations.
Two organizations – one that supports gun rights and another that backs militias across the country – have given a combined amount of $100,000 to help with personal expenses, Wendy’s attorney John M. Pierce said.
Meanwhile the legal-defense fund has raised nearly $2million, Pierce said, with support from conservative circles.
The teen, who is white, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of two white protesters and attempted intentional homicide in the wounding of a third.
He also faces a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession for wielding a semi-automatic rifle.
If convicted of first-degree homicide, Rittenhouse would be sentenced to life in prison.