Kyle Rittenhouse — the 17-year-old charged with killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the shooting of Jacob Blake — will stand trial on charges of felony homicide and other crimes, a court commissioner ruled Thursday.
During a preliminary hearing at Kenosha County Circuit Court, which was held via video link, commissioner Loren Keating ruled that there was enough evidence to send Rittenhouse to trial over the Aug. 25 killings of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.
Rittenhouse also faces charges of possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18 and felony attempted homicide for injuring a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz.
Lawyers for Rittenhouse argued that the teen, who has been praised by right-wing commentators and viewed sympathetically by the Trump administration, had acted in self-defense when he opened fire.
But Keating said those arguments were issues for trial — not a preliminary hearing. The teen’s lawyers also asked Keating to dismiss two charges, including possession of a dangerous weapon, but the commissioner declined, saying that was also an issue for trial.
Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was released on $2 million bond last month, money mostly raised by conservatives through a legal defense fund.
When racial justice protesters took to the streets following Blake’s Aug. 23 shooting, authorities have said that Rittenhouse traveled to Wisconsin to guard a car dealership from looting. Armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle, he allegedly killed Rosenbaum after he threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse — and missed — then tried to wrestle the rifle away.
In video of the incident’s chaotic aftermath, people in the crowd can be heard yelling “get him” and “beat him up.” As Rittenhouse ran down the street, he tripped and fell. Huber struck him with his skateboard and tried to grab the rifle. Rittenhouse opened fire, killing Huber and injuring Grosskreutz, who had a handgun.
An arraignment in the case is scheduled for Jan. 5.