Kyle Rittenhouse trial: witness claims first gunshot victim acted ‘belligerently’
Rittenhouse fired an AR-15 type weapon eight times during the unrest: four shots at Joseph Rosenbaum, who was unarmed; two shots at an unarmed stranger which kicked Rittenhouse; a fatal blow to Anthony Huber, who hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard; and a shot at Gaige Grosskreutz, who was holding a gun, prosecutors said.
Lackowski, who was armed on the night of the unrest, said he traveled to Kenosha to protect local property. He said he met Rittenhouse, who introduced himself as an EMT.
The former Marine said he had also met Rosenbaum, who “had acted very belligerently, he had asked very frankly to shoot him”, but did not see the man as a threat.
Lackowski said he perceived Rosenbaum as a “babbling idiot” and turned away from him and ignored him. He said Rosenbaum was “taking a wrong stepâ¦ to get someone to do something” – an action he demonstrated to the jury as taking a quick step forward before stepping back.
At one point, Lackowski said, he ran towards the sound of the gunfire and encountered Rittenhouse – who appeared to be “exhausted, in shock” and was still armed – running away.
Rittenhouse “had indicated that he (…) had not shot anyone” and that he needed help, Lackowski said after passing a copy of his statement to the FBI to jog his memory.
“I told him to run to the police who were on the road,” Lackowski recalls, telling the accused. Then, the witness said, more shots exploded in the direction Rittenhouse was running.
Lackowski said he had “passed out” at one point, but recalled seeing an injured Grosskreutz on the ground. After Grosskreutz was taken for treatment, Lackowski said he saw a gun on the ground. He emptied the magazine and the police told him to drop it.
Seeking to counter Rittenhouse’s self-defense strategy, a prosecutor noted that Lackowski did not use his gun that night and that he was not assaulted.
“It was not necessary,” said the witness.
The latest dismissal leaves 18 jurors
The latest dismissal of a juror leaves the panel with 18 jurors – eight men and 10 women.
The pregnant juror appeared in the jury gallery on Friday with a blue face mask. Judge Bruce Schroeder briefly questioned her before firing her.
âBlessings and good luck,â the judge said.
Schroeder later told the remaining jurors that panel member # 27 “was experiencing slight discomfort, she was pregnant and had requested to be fired and I granted that request with the consent of the lawyers.”
“There are 18 of us,” he said after both sides agreed to fire the juror.
The jury will be reduced to 12 once deliberations have begun, according to the judge. The panel was selected in a single day without the use of a preliminary questionnaire.
He pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including intentional first degree homicide, reckless first degree homicide and attempted first degree intentional homicide. His lawyer says he acted in self-defense.
Huber’s great aunt Susan Hughes described her niece’s son to the jury on Friday. She said they both have red hair and talk about art, music and Star Wars.
Hughes said Huber was an avid skateboarder who even rode in the snow. Huber told her he knew Blake and that he would be going to the protests to film, she said. He had obtained his driver’s license on his birthday, the Friday before his murder, she said.
Kariann Swart, Rosenbaum’s fiancÃ©e, also spoke for the prosecution. They were homeless, she said, and were residing in a motel at the time of her death.
Rosenbaum was released from a Milwaukee hospital the day he was killed, she said. He was carrying a plastic bag with papers, socks, deodorant and a toothbrush and paste, she said.
Swart said she was called by the medical examiner around 4 a.m. and told he was killed. She fell to her knees and cried. She said she asked him not to go downtown because of the unrest.
Swart said she then watched a video showing Rosenbaum dying.
âI broke down and I can’t seem to get this image of my head,â she said.
The next day, Swart said, she drove to the location of a car dealership where Rosenbaum was killed and put her hand on the still bloodstained sidewalk. She collapsed, she said.
In cross-examination, Swart said Rosenbaum was taking medication “to help” with bipolar disorder.
In another testimony on Friday, Officer Pep Moretti of the Kenosha Police Department described the chaotic scene that unfolded in the response to the gunfire that night.
“The war zone is the only way I could describe it. We were surrounded. The city was burning and was on fire. We were outnumbered and completely surrounded,” he told the podium.
Moretti said that when Rittenhouse approached his vehicle shortly after shooting three people, he was not following Moretti’s orders. Moretti said he drew his gun at Rittenhouse while another officer used pepper spray to keep him from getting any closer to their vehicle.
A video shown in the courtroom showed Rittenhouse approaching Moretti’s vehicle with his arms raised. But Moretti said he could still hear gunfire and felt like an active shooting situation was going on. He didn’t see Rittenhouse as the shooter.
Instead, officers felt Rittenhouse was standing in the way as they attempted to respond to injured people further down the street. Moretti said he ordered Rittenhouse to get off the road and stay behind.
â(Rittenhouse) approached from the passenger side of our patrol vehicle. With him, disobeying orders and armed with a rifle like that, I pulled out my service weapon,â Moretti said. “It became clear and obvious that (Rittenhouse) was not going to go away, that he continued to advance on us and disobey orders.”
When asked if Moretti had pointed his gun at Rittenhouse, Moretti replied: “I imagine I would have pointed it at him, because someone advancing on us with a rifle and not obeying orders. would be considered a threat. “
The defense sought to argue that Moretti’s only orders were for Rittenhouse to get off the road, and they released video showing Rittenhouse moving to the side of the road and approaching the passenger side of the vehicle.
âLooking back, the person who was involved in this – for lack of a better term and you didn’t know it at the time – but it was getting to you,â said attorney Corey Chirafisi, attorney for Rittenhouse. .
âIt’s entirely possible, yes,â Moretti said.
When asked by the defense team why Moretti did not collect information from Rittenhouse, Moretti said they believed an active shooting situation was still going on and victims were given priority. about gathering information from Rittenhouse at the time, which they did not consider to be the source of the shooting.
“There were probably more people with guns than not throughout the civil unrest,” he said, adding that seeing someone with an AR-15 didn’t necessarily mean much to him at the time – the.
Brothers say they never asked anyone to protect a parking lot
Brothers Anmol and Sahil Khindri, who work in car dealerships owned by their father, testified that they did not ask Rittenhouse or others to keep their property.
Anmol Khindri said he spoke briefly with Rittenhouse but there were no requests for protection.
He said he gave Rittenhouse his phone number after discussing a fundraiser.
Rittenhouse texted on the 25th: “It’s Kyle, do you need someone to protect your business tonight I’m more than willing and will be armed, I just need an address.”
Khindri said he didn’t see the message on the night of the shooting and when he finally saw the text, he didn’t respond. Citing interviews Khindri gave last year, Chirafisi challenged Khindri, who at one point appeared to downplay the damage car dealers suffered during the riots.
“One hundred and thirty-seven vehicles were set on fire on your property, does that ring a bell? Asked Chirafisi.
“If that’s what he’s saying, I don’t know the numbers off by heart. I’m sorry,” Khindri replied.
“Two point five million dollars in losses, don’t you mind?” Chirafisi replied.
âI don’t know, my dad takes care of the money side of the business,â Khindri said.
“Were you just prepared to let your property be damaged on the 25th?” Asked Chirafisi.
âAfter seeing the destruction, there is nothing I can do,â Khindri replied.
Sahil Khindri said he drove to Kenosha with his family after police told them their property had been damaged.
He said he did not speak to any of the gunmen about the protection of their property. But when the defense released a photo of Sahil smiling and posing with the group, Sahil said he asked to have a photo taken with them because he was impressed with their equipment and military attire.
âFor me it was impressive,â he said.
He said the group informed him that they were in town to protect Kenosha from property damage, but he also claimed he did not ask the men to protect his family’s businesses.
CNN’s Raja Razek, Ashley Killough, Eric Levenson, Sara Sidner and Amir Vera contributed to this report.