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17-year-old suspect in Jacob Blake protest shooting charged with 2 counts of homicide

Kyle Rittenhouse faces two first-degree homicide charges, as well as two charges of attempted homicide, according to Wisconsin court records.
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The 17-year-old Illinois resident arrested in connection with the fatal shooting at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake now faces two charges of homicide.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, was arrested in his hometown Wednesday on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide.

Multiple additional charges were filed against the teenager Thursday afternoon by Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, including another count of first-degree intentional homicide, as well as first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, according to Wisconsin court records.

He is also facing two charges of reckless endangerment, which are also felony counts, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a dangerous weapon under the age of 18.

The Kenosha County District Attorney's office was closed Thursday afternoon and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Rittenhouse's attorney, John Pierce, in a statement Thursday night said that his client was acting in self-defense.

"This was classic self-defense and we are going to prove it," Pierce said. "We will obtain justice for Kyle no matter how hard the fight or how long it takes."

A criminal complaint filed Thursday stated that Rittenhouse was identified through multiple videos of Tuesday night's protests. The teenager was seen just before midnight in the videos near a Car Source in Kenosha, where an unarmed man named Joseph Rosenbaum was shot and killed, according to the document.

Rittenhouse was allegedly seen in the video with a long rifle, later identified as an AR-15 style .223 rifle, when Rosenbaum allegedly threw what appeared to be a plastic bag at the teenager, the complaint stated.

A loud bang is heard on the video and a male voice shouts an expletive before Rosenbaum continues to approach Rittenhouse before four more bangs are heard in the video, according to the complaint. Rosenbaum then fell, and a journalist at the scene attempted to offer the man aid.

"Another male approaches, and the defendant turns and begins to run away from the scene. As the defendant is running away, he can be heard saying on the phone, 'I just killed somebody,'" the complaint said.

Rosenbaum had gunshot wounds to the back that perforated his right lung and liver and fractured his pelvis, and another that injured his left hand, according to an autopsy conducted by the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office. He also had a superficial wound to his left thigh and a graze on the side of his forehead.

The journalist, identified as Richard McGinnis, told authorities that he saw Rosenbaum approach Rittenhouse but did not hear any exchange of words before shots were fired. McGinnis recounted to detectives that it appeared that Rosenbaum attempted to grab the gun when it was pointed downward, but the teenager pulled it back and pointed it up, according to the court document.

"McGinnis stated that the first round went into the ground and when the second shot went off, the defendant actually had the gun aimed at Rosenbaum," the complaint said.

Other videos show Rittenhouse running after the incident, with groups of people following him and calling attention to the teenager, one shouting "Hey, he shot him!," according to the complaint. At one point, Rittenhouse appears to trip and an unidentified male jumped on top of him.

"Based on the sounds of gunshots on the video and the positioning of the defendant’s gun, it appears that he fires two shots in quick succession at this person," the complaint said. "It appears that that person was not hit as he then runs away from the defendant."

Another person, identified as Anthony Huber in the complaint, then approached Rittenhouse while he was still on the ground and tried to grab the gun. Huber had a skateboard in one hand and attempted to get the gun from Rittenhouse in the other, based on authorities' video review.

"The defendant rolls towards his left side and as Huber appears to be trying to grab the gun, the gun is pointed at Huber’s body," the complaint said. "The defendant then fires one round which can be heard on the video."

Huber later died of a gunshot wound. An autopsy found the gunshot perforated his heart, aorta, pulmonary artery and right lung.

A man named Gaige Grosskreutz put his hands in the air after Huber was shot, seemingly armed with a handgun, and was allegedly shot in the arm by Rittenhouse when he attempted to approach the teen, according to the complaint.

"The defendant turns around facing southbound while walking backwards northbound with his firearm in a ready position, pointed towards the people in the roadway," the complaint said.

Rittenhouse is being held in the Lake County Judicial System as he awaits extradition to Wisconsin, the Village of Antioch Police Department said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Online court records show that a hearing is scheduled for Friday morning.

During a news conference Thursday, Kenosha officials said that protests in the city following Tuesday's shooting have been peaceful.

"Since Wednesday, the entire atmosphere of Kenosha has changed dramatically as far as the people who live here. The crowds last night were small, it was a few hundred people and they walked peacefully through Kenosha," Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said. "I think the people that were here last night were Kenosha's people. ... A huge part of me thinks that a lot of our issues start when different people with different agendas come here to Kenosha."

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes described Rittenhouse as an “outside agitator” who “came in from Illinois with a long rifle and was able to just walk the streets, freely, like that’s something normal we should just come to expect.”

“We shouldn’t accept it,” he added at a Thursday news conference. “Because what do you think is going to happen if you have an agitated man with a long gun walking down the streets thinking that he’s some sort of peacekeeper?”

The protests in the city, about 40 miles southeast of Milwaukee, were sparked by the police shooting of Blake, 29, on Sunday. A video of the incident was widely shared on social media.

Blake was shot seven times by an officer at close range, and he is now paralyzed from the waist down, family attorney Patrick Salvi said. Doctors do not know whether the condition is permanent.

Blake's parents are expected to attend a rally Friday in Washington, organized by the National Action Network (of which Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host, is president) and the NAACP, attorney Benjamin Crump said during an appearance Thursday on CNN.

Crump, who is co-counsel for the family, said they will address matters related to the shooting.

"I'm sure his mother's gonna be calling for us to heal this country and also to examine our hearts as she so eloquently said when we were in Kenosha, Wisconsin," he said on CNN. "And his father, I'm sure is going to be saying that this is a problem and we have to speak truth to power."

The rally, dubbed "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks," will advocate "for comprehensive police accountability reform, the Census, and mobilizing voters for the November elections," according to the National Action Network website.

Sharpton announced the rally — which will be held on the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech — at a memorial for George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.