ANTIOCH, Ill. (WGN) — The mother of a 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during the riots following the shooting of Jacob Blake said her son acted in self-defense and that he shouldn’t be in jail.
Wendy Rittenhouse, the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse, said she had to move her family from Antioch because they had been receiving death threats. She is trying to make her case in the court of public opinion and is claiming her son only acted in self-defense.
Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz in Kenosha in August.
Wendy Rittenhouse said she doesn’t know how her son got the gun he was seen on video holding that night, but said he had it for his protection.
She said she wishes her son, and the protesters, would not have been in Kenosha the night of the protests. She said had officials in Wisconsin stopped the looting as soon as it started, it would be an entirely different reality.
“The mayor and the governor, they should’ve stepped up,” she said.
She said the 17-year-old and a friend originally had gone to help clean up a Kenosha auto dealer that had been looted and vandalized after the police shooting of 29-year-old Blake.
“I thought good job, you are cleaning up the graffiti,” she said.
She said she knew nothing of the gun he had given to him by that friend.
As the night wore on, Kyle Rittenhouse told his mother he was sticking around to help if anyone got hurt.
“I texted him earlier before I went to bed seeing where he was all I got was, ‘I’m OK mom I’m doing medic,’” she said.
When asked if her son should have had the AR-15 style gun in the first place, Wendy Rittenhouse said from what she saw in videos that circulated after that night, everyone else had a gun, too.
“If he didn’t have that gun, my son would be dead,” she said.
She claims her son was acting in self-defense after Grosskreutz or Racine fired a handgun in the chaos that had ensued. Grosskruetz denies firing.
According to the criminal complaint, Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum first after he tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun. As Rittenhouse was running away, he was chased. He fired off more shots killing Huber and wounding Grosskrueutz
Wendy Rittenhouse and others say the 17-year-old only fired his gun to save his own life.
“He had that gun for his protection,” his mother said.
The single mother of three, who works as a certified nursing assistant, describes her son as someone who always wanted to help others first.
In the aftermath of charges, almost $2 million has been raised for his defense by individuals and conservative groups. She said she is that she is thankful.
“I couldn’t be more grateful from the bottom of my heart,” she said.
When asked if she had anything to say to the families of the men he is accused of killing and the third he wounded, she said she had nothing to say to them.
Many have asked why Kenosha police allowed the open carrying of guns in the middle of a highly charged situation.
Rittenhouse’s attorney said he will be making that $2 million bail soon rather than later.