Sus­pect in deadly Kenosha shoot­ings is re­leased on $2 mil­lion cash bail

The Washington Post - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY MARK GUAR­INO mark.guar­ino@wash­post.com

Kyle Rit­ten­house, the 17-yearold charged in the fa­tal shoot­ing of two peo­ple and the wound­ing of an­other in Kenosha, Wis., in late Au­gust, was re­leased from jail on Fri­day af­ter post­ing a $2 mil­lion cash bail.

A spokesman for the Kenosha County Sher­iff ’s De­part­ment, Sgt. David Wright, con­firmed that Rit­ten­house left the county’s de­ten­tion cen­ter about 2 p.m. lo­cal time Fri­day ac­com­pa­nied by a se­cu­rity team and his at­tor­ney.

“Kyle is free, he is to­tally in­no­cent, and it’s about time,” said his at­tor­ney John Pierce. “He is to­tally in­no­cent, and we are go­ing to prove it.”

Pierce said for­mer Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions ser­vice mem­bers were hired to pro­vide se­cu­rity for Rit­ten­house.

In Wis­con­sin, bail must be paid in the full cash amount. Pierce said the $2 mil­lion came from funds raised by Fight Back, an or­ga­ni­za­tion whose web­site said it seeks to “pro­tect and de­fend the con­sti­tu­tional rights, liveli­hoods and prop­erty of peo­ple and busi­nesses that are be­ing tar­geted and de­stroyed.” The or­ga­ni­za­tion was founded by Lin Wood, an­other Rit­ten­house at­tor­ney.

On Fri­day, Wood in a Twit­ter post char­ac­ter­ized Rit­ten­house as “a po­lit­i­cal pris­oner” and said the or­ga­ni­za­tion would con­tinue to raise money for his de­fense costs. He also cred­ited “NYPD Blue” ac­tor Ricky Schroder and Mypil­low CEO Mike Lin­dell “for putting us over the top.”

Two other con­ser­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tions, the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Gun Rights and Amer­i­can Wolf 689, have raised a to­tal of $105,000 for liv­ing ex­penses for Rit­ten­house’s fam­ily, who moved from their home in An­ti­och, Ill., to an undis­closed lo­ca­tion be­cause of ha­rass­ment and death threats, Pierce said.

Rit­ten­house has been in cus­tody in Kenosha since Oct. 30, when he was ex­tra­dited to Wis­con­sin from Lake County, Ill., just across the state line, where he was ar­rested on Aug. 26.

Rit­ten­house is charged with first-de­gree in­ten­tional homi­cide and first-de­gree reck­less homi­cide in the shoot­ing deaths of An­thony Hu­ber and Joseph Rosen­baum. He is also charged with at­tempted first-de­gree homi­cide in the shoot­ing of Gaige Grosskreut­z. The shoot­ings took place dur­ing street protests re­lated to the shoot­ing of Ja­cob Blake, an un­armed Black man, by a Kenosha po­lice of­fi­cer two days ear­lier.

Rit­ten­house’s at­tor­neys say the teenager was act­ing in self­de­fense.

Bail con­di­tions set at Rit­ten­house’s last court hear­ing in­cluded not mak­ing con­tact with fam­i­lies of the vic­tims or pos­sess­ing a weapon. His next hear­ing is Dec. 3.

On Thurs­day, Kenosha po­lice de­tec­tive Ben An­taramian tes­ti­fied in court that Do­minick Black, a friend of Rit­ten­house’s, told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he had pur­chased the AR-15 as­sault ri­fle used in the shoot­ings. Black, 19, is charged with two counts of in­tent to sell a dan­ger­ous weapon to a per­son un­der 18.

Ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Rit­ten­house gave Black money to buy the weapon in May from a hard­ware store in Lady­smith, a town in the far north of Wis­con­sin. They then went shoot­ing with the weapon and stored it in Black’s step­fa­ther’s house in Kenosha.

Rit­ten­house could not buy a gun be­cause he did not have an Illi­nois firearm-owner iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card. Gun pos­ses­sion in Illi­nois is pro­hib­ited for peo­ple younger than 21 un­less they get writ­ten con­sent from a par­ent or le­gal guardian.

An­taramian said that dur­ing a sec­ond in­ter­view, Black pro­vided “a con­flict­ing state­ment,” say­ing that in­stead of giv­ing Rit­ten­house the gun the day of the shoot­ing, Rit­ten­house took the gun with­out his knowl­edge. Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Black’s step­fa­ther told po­lice he did not know the gun was miss­ing from his house.

It had been stored in a locked safe but was taken out the pre­vi­ous day when ri­ot­ing broke out in Kenosha.

Black “skirted around the is­sue that Kyle took it with­out him look­ing and he made no at­tempt to stop Kyle from tak­ing it at that point,” An­taramian said.

The day be­fore the shoot­ing, Rit­ten­house, who lived in nearby An­ti­och, worked his job at a Wis­con­sin re­cre­ation cen­ter out­side Kenosha and then stayed overnight at Black’s house.

Black’s next court ap­pear­ance is Jan. 13.

In an in­ter­view, Wendy Rit­ten­house, the teenager’s mother, de­scribed Black “as a son.”

“I sup­port Do­minick for what he’s go­ing through. I’ ll al­ways love Do­minick. He is part of my fam­ily, and he will al­ways be part of my fam­ily,” she said.

“He is to­tally in­no­cent.” John Pierce, at­tor­ney for Kyle Rit­ten­house

AN­TI­OCH (ILL.) PO­LICE DE­PART­MENT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kyle Rit­ten­house, 17, was charged with fatally shoot­ing two peo­ple and in­jur­ing a third dur­ing protests in Kenosha, Wis., in Au­gust.

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