In a brief jailhouse address, Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with killing two men during last week’s Kenosha riots, urged those supporting him to “stay strong.”
A video posted Tuesday on Twitter shows attorney John Pierce, whose firm is defending Rittenhouse, holding a cell phone as the 17-year-old speaks from the Illinois jail where he is currently being held while awaiting an extradition hearing on moving him to Wisconsin.
“I just want to thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for the underlining support,” Rittenhouse said.
“It’s just amazing, I want to thank all of you for the mail I’ve been receiving. It’s been really helpful,” he added.
“I just want to let you all know that I’m going to be out of here soon,” Rittenhouse said, adding, “stay strong and I hope to see you guys soon.”
During the video, Pierce emphasized the point that Rittenhouse was acting to protect himself when the shootings took place.
“I want to say that this is 100 percent self-defense,” Pierce said.
Do you believe Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense?
“If this is not self-defense for Kyle Rittenhouse under the circumstances, then no one can protect themselves, no one can protect their family and no one can protect their country,” he added.
“This is a watershed moment in American history. A very bright line has been crossed. The right to self-defense is a God-given right and we are not going to allow a prosecutor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to take it away from Kyle Rittenhouse,” he said.
Pierce appeared Monday on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to recount the events that led to the shootings.
“There was a shot that was fired as Kyle was retreating, actually, from a mob that had become enraged that he was trying to put out fires that the arsons had set, and because he was trying to protect property,” he said. “The mob became enraged. They began screaming that Kyle needed to be killed and they were going to kill him. They started relentlessly hunting him as prey as he ran down the street attempting to retreat.
“As he ran out of room to retreat, a shot was fired from behind him.”
One member of the group chasing Rittenhouse “set upon him immediately, began to assault him from behind, attempted to take his weapon, take his firearm, and Kyle, when he turned, he instantaneously had no choice but to defend himself by firing, because he was in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death,” Pierce said.
“Kyle actually attempted to stop and to check on the individual who had been shot. He did make a call to his friend. He said to his friend that he had shot someone. He immediately had to retreat from that area because the mob, the rioters that were chasing him, who had witnessed this, immediately called him out for the shooting,” he added.
“They began saying that he needs to be craniumed, that he — essentially he needed to be killed. So, he began retreating back down the street. He began running back down the police line to try to get to safety,” Pierce said.
After Rittenhouse was pursued and knocked to the pavement, “one of the rioters was right over him with a Glock,” Pierce said.
“The other one was attempting and both of them were attempting to disarm him, to take his AR-15. He was successful in being able to fight that off and he had no choice but to then immediately defend himself.
“He was at fear of serious bodily harm or death. He fired and disarmed the individual who had the Glock by hitting him in the arm. He shot and killed the other person who was attacking him.”
Pierce stressed that the shootings were not carried out indiscriminately.
“And I got to tell you, one thing, if you really think about this, Tucker, in this war zone, in this chaos that was occurring in a city in America in the middle of Wisconsin … the only individuals that Kyle shot were the three individuals that were attacking him and putting him at risk of serious bodily harm or death. This is a 17-year-old kid. This is amazing,” he said.
Pierce also accused authorities of selective prosecution.
“So, here’s the question that I have, Tucker: Where are the charges for aggravated assault against Kyle Rittenhouse?” Pierce said.
“Where are the charges for arson in our cities? Where are the charges for rioting? Where are the charges for crossing state lines? And where are the charges against the people who are funding this activity and who are financing it?” he asked.
“And why is Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old lifeguard who was attempting to protect the businesses in his community, attempting to help wounded protesters, and was protecting his own life while Kenosha was burning — why is he the one sitting in jail tonight as forces within this country sickeningly attempt to find a way to bring harm to him while he is in detention?”
Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was shot five times, while Anthony Huber, 29, was shot once, according to Fox News. Both men died of their injuries.
Gaige Grosskreutz, meanwhile, was shot in the arm, but survived.
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