Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with murder after killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, cashed a coronavirus stimulus check to buy the semi-automatic gun. Rittenhouse, in a jailhouse interview, to The Washington Post on Thursday said that he acted in self defense and does not regret arming himself on the fateful August night as protesters marched in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting by the police.
Rittenhouse is also charged in the wounding of a third person on the night of August 25. He was arrested at his home in Antioch, Illinois, a day after the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.
Rittenhouse Opens Up
Rittenhouse admitted that he used his coronavirus stimulus money to buy the AR-15 gun which he then used to fatally shoot two protesters and seriously injure one on the night of August 25. He became eligible for the stimulus money after being furloughed from his job as a YMCA lifeguard due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
However, since he was too young to purchase a gun under Wisconsin's state law, he decided to make one of his friends buy it for him. He then purchased the gun from his friend.
"I got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment because I was on furlough from YMCA, and I got my first unemployment check, so I was like, 'Oh, I'll use this to buy it,'" Rittenhouse said in his first jailhouse interview. The 17-year-old- Rittenhouse, who is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, said that he acted in self defense and has no intentions on killing people.
He claimed that he went to the scene to support police officers and to protect local businesses and render medical aid during protests. Photographs of Rittenhouse that fateful night show him carrying an AR-15 slung over his shoulder and a medic's bag on his hip, which somewhat justifies his claims.
Rittenhouse, however, doesn't regret his actions. During the course of the interview, he claimed that he did everything in self defense. "No, I don't regret it," he said. "I would have died that night if I didn't. I feel like I had to protect myself."
Despite being arrested and charged with homicide, Rittenhouse has attended the status of a folk hero among right-wing ideologues that endorse violence against their political opponents. He can be seen in a series of photos doing multiple things before and after the shooting.
One of the photograph shows him claiming to be a militiaman, while he is seen painting a graffiti in another. In yet another photograph he can be seen pointing his gun and arguing with the protesters.
It's still not clear, what Rittenhouse's actual intentions were but there definitely is truth in what he has said in his first interview from the jail. Earlier this month, Dominic Black, an 18-year-old friend of Rittenhouse, told authorities that he purchased the weapon at a hardware store in Wisconsin and kept it for Rittenhouse at his own home.
According to the police, Black even told officers that Rittenhouse's mother Wendy Rittenhouse had been contemplating applying for a firearm owner's identification card in Illinois so that they could legally keep the weapon in Antioch.
Even Wendy has claimed that her son wanted to protect the businesses from being looted and he was there to help the police. 'The police should have helped the businesses out instead of having a 17-year-old kid helping him,' she said. 'The police should have been involved with these people that lost their businesses. They should have stepped up,' she had told in an interview to Chicago Tribune.