After Kyle Rittenhouse returned to his family’s Antioch, Ill., apartment the night he is alleged to have shot three people, killing two, he and his family briefly discussed the possibility that he go into hiding.
In a videotaped interview with a Kenosha Police detective, Rittenhouse’s friend Dominick Black, who drove the teenager home after the shootings, was asked what Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy Rittenhouse said when she learned what her son had done.
“At first she was like you’ve got a choice, you’ve got to get out of town or you can turn yourself in to the police office right now,” Black said.
Kyle Rittenhouse’s sister Faith, in an interview with another detective, confirmed the family had talked about the possibility of her brother going into hiding, but he said he wanted to go to turn himself over to police.
Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, is now free on $2 million bond after his attorneys posted the money Friday afternoon. He was released to a private security detail arranged by his supporters, and unless he violates the terms of his bond, he will remain out of custody while awaiting trial for shooting three men, killing two, during the Kenosha unrest on Aug. 25.
In an interview with a Kenosha Police detective at the Antioch Police Department on Aug. 26, hours after the shootings — the videos obtained through an open records request by the Kenosha News —Rittenhouse’s sister Faith said her family did not not initially know he had gone to Kenosha to attend the protests, saying that until he came home after the shootings she had not seen her brother since Monday, Aug. 24.
“He works in Kenosha,” Faith Rittenhouse told the detective. “I thought he was going to work, that’s what he said.”
Rittenhouse did work in Kenosha County, working part time as a lifeguard at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. According to a spokesman for the village-owned center, he had been employed for just about 20 days before Aug. 26.
But instead of going to work, Rittenhouse had gone to meet Black, 19, of Kenosha, a friend who Faith Rittenhouse described as her sister’s boyfriend.
Black — who has been charged with two felony counts for providing Rittenhouse with the AR-15 style rifle allegedly used to kill Anthony Huber of Silver Lake and Joseph Rosenbaum of Kenosha and seriously injure Gaige Grosskreutz of West Allis — had spent the day with Rittenhouse on Aug. 25, at first helping clean up graffiti on Reuther High School. They then returned Downtown, both armed with AR-15s.
The two have said they were there to protect the Car Source car lot on Sheridan Road, which had been damaged by arsonists in the first day of protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey.
Intended for hunting
According to court documents, Black, 19, had purchased the rifle for Rittenhouse in Ladysmith in the spring. The two were there to visit property owned by Black’s stepfather. Rittenhouse could not legally purchase the weapon because he was a minor.
“He bought it with his money, but I bought it for him,” Black said in an interview with Kenosha Police Detective Ben Antaramian, which was videotaped at the Kenosha Police Station and obtained through an open records request.
Black said their plan was for Rittenhouse to keep the gun at Black’s stepfather’s house in Kenosha until Rittenhouse’s mother obtained a firearms owners identification card for the gun.
“The deal was to only take it up north to go hunting,” Black said in the interview.
He said he had known Rittenhouse for about a year, meeting him when he started dating his sister.
Black said in the interview that Rittenhouse had never gone hunting before and had never taken a hunter safety course. He said he had only used the assault-style gun to target shoot at the property near Ladysmith.
Rittenhouse said in an interview with the Washington Post that he used COVID-19 stimulus money to buy the gun.
“I got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment because I was on furlough from the YMCA, and I got my first unemployment check, so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll use this to buy it,’” he said in the interview.
If Rittenhouse is referencing the $1,200 federal stimulus checks that began going to taxpayers in April, it is unclear how he would have received one because, according to the IRS, minors who are dependents are not eligible for the payments.
At a preliminary hearing Thursday, Antaramian testified that Black gave conflicting accounts of how Rittenhouse came to have the gun with him when they went to the Car Source lot.
“Yeah, I think so, I think he grabbed it,” Black answered when asked if Rittenhouse had taken the gun from his stepfather’s house.
According to the Washington Post, Rittenhouse had purchased the military-style sling for the gun at a gun store in the area so he could carry it at the protests.
“In my head I could have stopped it,” Black told Antaramian in the interview. “But I know if I would have told him no, he would have thrown a fit.”
Black said in the interview that he was on the roof of the business when the shooting occurred, meeting Rittenhouse after the 17-year-old had called him as he ran away after the first shooting, which killed Rosenbaum.
“I just shot someone,” Rittenhouse can be heard saying on the phone as he ran, the call captured in a video shared widely on social media.
Moments later, the video shows, Rittenhouse is chased down Sheridan Road after people shout to stop him, yelling that he had just shot someone. After Rittenhouse fell to the ground, he shot and killed Huber after Huber struck him with a skateboard. He then shot Grosskreutz.
In the interview in Antioch, Black told Antaramian that he drove Rittenhouse back to the Rittenhouse family’s apartment in Antioch, with Rittenhouse’s rifle stowed in the trunk of his car.
Black told Antaramian that Rittenhouse was emotional and worried he would go to jail.
“The dude’s sweating like a pig. He’s just freaking out. His face is white. He’s like, ‘I’m going to jail for the rest of my life,’” Black said.
Black said he told Rittenhouse that he would not be in trouble because he was defending himself.
Wanted to protect himself
In an interview with the Washington Post, Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy also described her son as shaking and crying. She said she left her apartment with her son after he came home following the shooting, driving around for awhile before going to the Antioch Police Station. Rittenhouse turned himself in to police at about 1:30 a.m.
In the Washington Post interview, Rittenhouse said he armed himself with the AR-15 when he went Downtown to protect himself and said he was not part of an organized group, although there was a call for militia groups to come to the city that day. He said the other people with weapons that he is seen with on video are strangers he met at the scene.
“I was going into a place where people had guns, and God forbid somebody brought a gun to me and decided to shoot me,” Rittenhouse told the Washington Post. “I wanted to be protected, which I ended up having to protect myself.”
Although he said he had his weapon to protect himself with people with guns, neither of the men he killed were armed. He shot Rosenbaum after Rosenbaum chased him and threw a plastic bag, although someone else did fire a weapon nearby. He shot Huber after Huber struck him with a skateboard.
“No, I don’t regret it,” Rittenhouse said. “I would have died that night if I didn’t I feel like I had to protect myself.”
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