A suspect is in custody after the shooting deaths of two Kenosha protestors
Two people were fatally shot during a confrontation between protestors and armed men who claimed to be guarding a local gas station in Kenosha. One person has been critically injured. A suspect has now been taken into custody for the shooting following the third night of unrest in the city of Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police.
According to Kenosha police, shots were fired around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night at a local gas station. The third victim was transported to a hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told The New York Times that the investigation was focused on the group of armed men outside the gas station. The investigation is still ongoing, but Kyle Rittenhouse, age 17, has been arrested in Antioch, IL and charged with first degree intentional homicide, according to local news outlets. Police were searching for the suspect after a man holding a long gun was captured on video opening fire on protestors and fleeing the scene.
For three days, protests and riots have reverberated through Kenosha as the city experiences unrest in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. Fire and property damage have been part of the riots.
Law enforcement is currently investigating whether the shooting stemmed from a conflict between the alleged militia guarding a gas station and demonstrators, but cell phone footage shows what appears to be a young white man carrying out a possible vigilante attack by opening fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle.
Beth said, “They’re a militia,” of the armed people patrolling the streets this week. “They’re like a vigilante group.” The FBI was also assisting in the case to find the shooter.
Protesters gathered at a fence surrounding the county courthouse, almost tipping it completely over before police in riot gear streamed from the building. Some in the crowd fired off fireworks at police, who responded by setting off a sound cannon. Around 9:30 p.m., military-style heavy trucks arrived to tear-gas the crowd.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is Black, said that the shootings were “not surprising” and that white militias have been ignored for too long.
“How many times across this country do you see armed gunmen, protesting, walking into state Capitols, and everybody just thinks it’s OK?” Barnes said. “People treat that like it’s some kind of normal activity that people are walking around with assault rifles.”
Eyewitness Devin Scott told The Chicago Tribune that he saw the shooting unfold right in front of him.
“We were all chanting ‘Black lives matter’ at the gas station and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, ‘That’s not fireworks,’” said Scott, 19. “And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him and then he started shooting again.”
Scott, who is just 19, said he tried to help one of the victims. “I was cradling him in my arms. I was trying to keep this kid alive and he wasn’t moving or nothing. He was just laying there,” he describes. “I didn’t know what to do and then this woman starts performing CPR. There was no pulse. I don’t think he made it.”
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