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Assault-style rifle used by Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020 fatal shootings will be destroyed, Wisconsin judge decides

Rittenhouse, now 19, was found not guilty in November on all charges in the Aug. 25, 2020, fatal shootings of two men while a third was wounded during a protest in Kenosha.
Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020.
Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020.Adam Rogan / AP file

A Wisconsin judge on Friday approved an agreement by lawyers to destroy the assault-style rifle that Kyle Rittenhouse used to shoot three people during a 2020 street protest.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said the state crime lab would destroy the gun, probably in April. Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Kenosha County judge who presided over Rittenhouse’s trial, approved the agreement.

Rittenhouse’s attorney had filed a motion asking prosecutors to return Rittenhouse’s rifle, his ammunition, his face mask and other clothing he was wearing the night of the shooting to him.

A spokesman for Rittenhouse said last week that Rittenhouse, who is now 19, wanted to destroy the rifle so nothing can be used as a political symbol or trophy celebrating the shootings.

Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was cleared on all five charges in November related to his actions on Aug. 25 2020, during protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. He was 17 during the protest.

He was charged with reckless homicide and intentional homicide in the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.

He also faced a charge of attempted intentional homicide for severely wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, a 27-year-old paramedic from suburban Milwaukee who was there that night volunteering his medical services, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety.

Huber and Rosenbaum were not armed when Rittenhouse shot them, but Grosskreutz came toward him with a pistol in hand when Rittenhouse opened fire.

Last year’s verdict prompted emotional responses from both Rittenhouse, and relatives of the men he was accused of shooting. Rittenhouse doubled over and then hugged defense attorney Corey Chirafisi, who had to tell his client to relax and breathe.

Families of those shot and killed held hands in court and cried as the verdicts were read.

Rittenhouse testified in his own defense and said all the shootings were acts of self-defense.

Rittenhouse left his home and traveled to the Kenosha protest after a local militia posted an online message seeking help protecting businesses from demonstrators, prosecutors said

The high-profile case was considered a touchstone of the summer of protests in 2020 after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.

Rittenhouse’s case proved polarizing. Some conservatives and advocates of gun rights praised him for standing up to protesters. His supporters raised $2 million for his bail.

Critics have called him a domestic terrorist who aggravated a volatile moment while acting as a vigilante.