News & Politics

Kyle Rittenhouse Takes the Stand in Trial for His Life: 'I Didn't Do Anything Wrong, I Defended Myself'

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

It was an enormous risk. A huge roll of the dice. Kyle Rittenhouse took the witness stand in his own defense in a trial that could send him to prison for the rest of his life for shooting and killing two people and wounding a third during the fiery Kenosha, Wisconsin riots of August 2020. He wept as he recounted being confronted by Joseph Rosenbaum, the man who lay in wait, chased, and then lunged at him and his weapon. Rittenhouse revealed new details of that deadly encounter on the witness stand.

The 18-year-old came off as credible on the stand, occasionally stealing a look at his mother who was understandably anxious.

Rittenhouse was on the stand not just for his past actions but for his credibility in the future. The police cadet and lifeguard hoped that he would spend the rest of his life in polite society, not in a cage.

Rittenhouse told the court that he was studying nursing at Arizona State University and had medical training, but he acknowledged that he was not a certified EMT, something he told people the night he went to the riots.

He verified that he’d heard Rosenbaum yell at him and his buddy, “If I catch any of you f***ers alone, I’m going to f***ing kill you.” Later Rosenbaum told his group, “I’m going to cut your f***ing hearts out and f***ing kill you.”

He said that on the night of Aug. 25, 2020, he was helping to secure the Car Source, a company whose two other locations had been torched by rioters. When he became separated from his group due to a police line, he was asked to go put out fires reported at another one of the company’s locations. After securing a fire extinguisher, he says he ran toward that location.

For the first time, he revealed that the man with Rosenbaum, Joshua Ziminski, pointed his pistol at him. Rittenhouse testified that he dropped his fire extinguisher. He said his plan was to “get out of that situation and once I looked over my shoulder” Mr. Rosenbaum began his deadly chase. Then Rittenhouse totally lost it on the stand. He began inconsolable weeping, so much so that the judge had to order a break in the trial.

He testified that he heard Ziminski fire a gun right behind him and kept running. Seconds later, he turned around and Rosenbaum had him boxed in among parked cars and, “I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun.”

Related: BOOM: The Star Witness for Prosecution in Rittenhouse Trial Just Blew Up the State’s Case

Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the killing of Rosenbaum but testified, “I did nothing wrong, I defended myself.”

Daily Caller reporter Ritchie McGinnis was there and immediately began to do first aid on Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse testified that he called his friend to report what had happened and started running to get away from the mob that was now yelling, “Get his a**! Get his a**! Cranium him! Kill him.” He ran toward the cops.

At one point he tripped and went down, and he was kicked in the head by an unidentified man at whom he fired two shots. He testified he did that to prevent the man from taking his weapon. But that was what Anthony Huber had in mind as he then piled on, beating Rittenhouse with his skateboard. He grab Rittenhouse’s gun and that’s when he shot the skateboarder.

Rittenhouse testified that it was then, for the second time that night, that he saw Gaige Grosskreutz, but this time he was holding his pistol. Rittenhouse said Grosskreutz lowered his gun at him so he shot him to stop the threat. He briefly pointed his gun at another man but determined he wasn’t a threat. He noted a man with a pipe to his left and another person to his right with a post and ran toward the cops.

He testified he had tunnel vision after that and walked toward the police lights. He also testified that he told an officer in a police cruiser that he just shot somebody but the cop told him, “get the f*** out of here or I’ll pepper spray you.”

He went to Car Source to tell his compatriots protecting the store what had happened. “I was in shock, I was freaking out, I’d just been attacked.” He said the Kenosha Police Department was blocked off and he didn’t think they’d be “taking anyone” at that time. His mother drove him to the Antioch Police Department a couple of hours later.

Rittenhouse claims self-defense in all the shootings.

This story will be updated.