IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Police, other civil servants donate to Kyle Rittenhouse defense fund

A data breach at the Christian crowdsourcing platform GiveSendGo shed light on the suspect's backers.
Image: Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse appears for an extradition hearing in Lake County court, in Waukegan, Ill. on Oct. 30, 2020.Nam Y. Huh / Pool via AP file

First responders and other government employees have donated money to support homicide suspect Kyle Rittenhouse, according to data leaked from a Christian crowdfunding website.

Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men during protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has become a cause célèbre among conservative activists who believe the teen was within his rights to open fire in self-defense on Aug. 25. Rittenhouse, 18, was 17 at the time of the shooting.

MyPillow Inc. founder Mike Lindell and former "Silver Spoons" child actor Ricky Schroder played key roles in "putting us over the top" in coming up with $2 million for bail in November, Rittenhouse's defense attorney, Lin Wood, said at the time.

Now, data leaked from GiveSendGo appears to shed light on the sources of over $500,000 in donations to Rittenhouse's legal defense fund. The data was unearthed by the digital activist group Distributed Denial Of Secrets and shared with NBC News on Friday.

One pro-Rittenhouse donation for $25 was made with an email address linked to Sgt. William Kelly, who works in internal affairs for the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia.

The donor added: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone said in a statement Friday that he was aware of the allegations and ordered an administrative investigation "to ensure department policies and procedures were not violated."

"The officer has been reassigned to another division pending the results of the administrative investigation," he said.

Other donors appeared to include a paramedic in Utah and an engineer from the famed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco. A representative for the lab said engineer Michael Crosley did not mean to use his work email address for the contribution.

"This employee was acting on his own and does not speak for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory," spokeswoman Lynda Seaver said in a statement on Friday. "The lab understands he did not intend to use his LLNL email."

Heather Wilson and Jacob Wells, co-founders of GiveSendGo, conceded that names and email addresses were exposed but insisted that no financial information was stolen.

"This was not a database breach as characterized, just a frontend attack where a hacker was able to collect email addresses of donors," they said in a statement.

"We have since found and addressed the issue and are scanning the website with outside security auditors to ensure this does not happen again. Aside from emails and names, no financial information is collected from donors by GiveSendGo so there was never any danger of donors' credit card information being compromised."