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Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted: who were teenager's Kenosha victims?

Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two men during anti-racism protests in Wisconsin in August 2020, has been cleared of homicide charges.

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Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted: who were teenager's Kenosha victims?
POOL REUTERS

Kyle Rittenhouse, an American teenager who shot and killed two men during anti-racism protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, was acquitted of homicide charges on Friday.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the killings, also wounded another man during civil unrest on the streets of Kenosha on 25 August 2020, two days after Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot by a white police officer in the city.

Rittenhouse, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, had travelled from his Illinois home to Kenosha to, he claimed, protect property amid the riots. He said he shot his victims in self-defence.

After deliberating for more than three days, a 12-person jury, composed of seven women and five men, returned not guilty verdicts on all charges following a two-and-a-half-week trial in Kenosha.

Who did Kyle Rittenhouse shoot in Kenosha on 25 August 2020?

Joseph Rosenbaum, 36

Joseph Rosenbaum was the first man to be shot and killed by Rittenhouse.

Footage from the incident shows an unarmed Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse before being shot four times by the teenager. Rittenhouse claimed during his trial that he feared for his life, testifying: “He said he was going to kill me if he got me alone. I was alone. I was running from him."

However, the prosecution argued that Rittenhouse provoked the confrontation and subsequent shooting by pointing his weapon at Rosenbaum. "You cannot claim self-defence against a danger you create," prosecutor Thomas Binger said.

According to a Washington Post report in late 2020, Rosenbaum had been released from hospital that day following a suicide attempt.

Anthony Huber, 26

Moments after killing Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse then fatally shot the also unarmed Anthony Huber after the 26-year-old struck him with the skateboard he was carrying.

Huber, who was shot once in the chest, had been trying to stop an “active shooter”, prosecutors said.

In a statement reacting to Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Huber’s parents said they were “heartbroken and angry”. “There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbauma and Gaige Grosskreutz.”

Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.

We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system.”

Gaige Grosskreutz, 28

Gaige Grosskreutz, the only victim who was armed, was wounded when he was shot in the arm by Rittenhouse after approaching him with a handgun.

During his trial testimony, Grosskreutz admitted that he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse, but said he did not mean to do so and “was never trying to kill the defendant”.

“In that moment, I was trying to preserve my own life, but doing so while taking the life of another is not something I am capable of or comfortable doing," he said.