Note: cross-posting here in case reddit decides to follow FB's lead and censor anything "pro-Rittenhouse"
Most of my questions about the Kyle Rittenhouse incident have been answered, so I figured I would do an infodump about the timeline of events there. This is not really (initially) intended as a megathread, as I believe all the events not supported by direct video evidence have at least a plausible explanation at this point. If it turns into one, then so be it.
The first thing to keep in mind is that everything happened in a 3-4 block stretch of Sheridan Road in Kenosha. This was not a wide-ranging affair. The major landmarks to keep in mind are:
- Car Source North (NE corner, 59th and Sheridan) – car lot with mechanic’s shop a group including Rittenhouse were guarding
- Gulf gas station (NW corner, 60th and Sheridan) – site where armed citizens and protesters argued
- Car Source South (NW corner, 63rd and Sheridan) – Rosenbaum shot
I do not have exact timestamps for all of this, but the major action appeared to happen between 11PM and midnight on August 25th. All information is taken from public sources, including the charging document and Rittenhouse’s lawyer’s statement. I do not have them all in one place, but I can track them back down again on request.
The protesters were in the area due to having been dispersed from where they were originally protesting, which was the Kenosha County Courthouse at 56th and Sheridan. The police were slowly securing more and more of the area around the courthouse by pushing protesters away, block-by-block. The protesters reached Car Source North first and were frustrated at the presence of armed citizens. After some words, they moved on. The police vanguard reached Car Source North a short time later and greeted the armed citizens standing guard there. Rittenhouse was offered water and he accepted it. The police vehicle remained there while awaiting reinforcements.
The protesters had moved on to the Gulf gas station and encountered another group of armed citizens. They were prevented from torching either the gas station or the police vehicle a block away with a flaming dumpster and a barrel of gas by someone running through with a fire extinguisher and putting out the dumpster fire [nsfw]. This enraged Rosenbaum who ran up to the armed citizens yelling (among other things) "Shoot me, [n-slur]!" [nsfw] The armed citizen who he seemed fixated on was wearing a pale green shirt, as was Rittenhouse. Both Huber and Grosskreutz may be seen in the group – Huber standing near Rosenbaum and Grosskreutz wandering through. One other person who seemed to be involved was an unidentified man wearing grey camo pants and carrying a pistol. He appeared to be attempting to calm the waters.
The situation deescalated and the protesters moved on to the south. At some point between the dumpster fire being extinguished and the protesters moving on, Rittenhouse arrived at the gas station after being informed that people may need medical aid. After helping as much as he could, he tried to go back to Car Source North, but police reinforcements had already arrived and dispersed the armed citizens standing guard. Rittenhouse walked back south to the Gulf gas station and was informed that the protesters were preparing to torch Car Source South. He started heading in that direction. Reporter Richard McGinnis was nearby and was apparently joined by another man who stated he was there to protect Rittenhouse.
McGinnis noticed Rosenbaum approach and then chase Rittenhouse and started running toward them [nsfw]. My speculation here is that Rosenbaum mistook Rittenhouse for the armed citizen with whom he had been arguing earlier due to them wearing similar shirts. A shot was fired into the air [nsfw], and one source indicates it was fired by Grey Camo Pants. Rittenhouse turned and Rosenbaum lunged for his rifle. Rittenhouse opened fire at point blank range, hit Rosenbaum several times, and then circled around the car to see if Rosenbaum needed aid. McGinnis was already rendering aid and yelled at Rittenhouse to call the police. Rittenhouse instead retreated from the area, called his friend, and apparently confessed to shooting someone.
After the shots died down, some protesters noticed Rittenhouse retreating, ascertained that he had shot Rosenbaum, and gave chase north on Sheridan [nsfw]. One protester caught up to Rittenhouse and attempted to shove him, which caused Rittenhouse to check behind him. He stumbled and fell as he did so, and one protester jumped with his boots towards Rittenhouse’s head. Rittenhouse fired at him, perhaps twice, missed, and the protester ran off. As he did so, Huber approached with his skateboard, which made contact with Rittenhouse’s shoulder or head. Huber grabbed the barrel of Rittenhouse’s rifle and tried to pull it away, probably not realizing he was aiming the barrel directly at his own heart. The rifle went off, perhaps unintentionally, and Huber staggered away and collapsed.
As the first two assailants were attacking Rittenhouse, Grosskreutz approached from behind Huber with a sidearm in his hand. As Huber staggered off and Rittenhouse noticed him, Grosskreutz put his hands up and approached slowly, but then made a move that indicated he was bringing the sidearm to bear, and Rittenhouse shot him in his gun arm. No other protesters approached Rittenhouse, and he continued his retreat to the police line two blocks away. Upon reaching them and signaling harmlessness, he was dismissed. It is possible that he was recognized by the officers he had interacted with earlier at Car Source North.
Kenosha Medical Center is directly across Sheridan from Car Source South. All victims were quickly transported there. Rittenhouse turned himself in to the Antioch, IL police and is still awaiting extradition to Wisconsin to stand trial.
Several theories regarding events and motives are available, and I will try to discuss them all, but most rebuttals will be from Rittenhouse’s lawyer’s statement and so may be biased.
- Rittenhouse transported firearms across state lines – According the lawyer’s statement, he received the rifle from his friend when they were preparing to head downtown. It did not cross state lines.
- Rittenhouse was too young to be legally armed with the rifle – This is one of the charges against him, albeit the least serious one. It is a misdemeanor and I would not be surprised if he pled guilty to it.
- Rittenhouse’s mother drove him to the protest – According to the lawyer’s statement, Rittenhouse was already in Kenosha working as a lifeguard at the public pool that day. He and the friend who loaned him the rifle spent some time between his job and going to the protest area cleaning graffiti off a local high school.
- Rittenhouse was a member of a militia group – No evidence of this exists anywhere, and it is slightly contradicted by
- Rittenhouse worshipped the cops – Militia members generally do not eagerly express admiration for police or other public defenders, as Rittenhouse had several times before. He seemed to have a deep appreciation for police officers and may have been planning on becoming one himself.
- Rittenhouse fired wildly into the crowd – No video evidence supports this, and all available video shows Rittenhouse only shooting when directly threatened, with most of his rounds either hitting the ground or their intended target. The only exception is the first person who tried to attack him while he was on the ground – one of those rounds went into the air, presumably without hitting his target.
- Rittenhouse went there looking to kill protestors – He never hinted that this was a motivation when being interviewed by McGinnis and appears to be as McGinnis described: perhaps too naive and out of his depth for the sort of things he may encounter in the area.
Also of note: Rosenbaum did not throw a molotov cocktail at Rittenhouse - that was the plastic bag he can be seen carrying in other videos.