Rittenhouse shooting victim: I thought ‘I was going to die’ | national
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – A witness at the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial said Monday he confronted a rifle-wielding Rittenhouse with his own rifle to try to stop the bloodshed, and believed that he was going to die as he got closer to the young man.
Gaige Grosskreutz, who said he went to the anti-racial justice protest on the streets of Kenosha to serve as a volunteer doctor that night, was shot and seriously injured in the arm by Rittenhouse.
Grosskreutz, 27, sprang into action after seeing Rittenhouse kill a man a few yards away – the second person Rittenhouse shot dead that night.
“I thought the accused was an active shooter,” Grosskreutz said, recounting how he pulled out the pistol he had in its holster.
When asked what was going on in his head as he approached Rittenhouse, 17, he replied, “That I was going to die. “
Rittenhouse, now 18, is on trial for killing two men and injuring Grosskreutz in Kenosha during a turbulent protest in the summer of 2020.
The former Antioch, Ill., Police cadet had traveled to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and medical kit in what he said was an effort to protect property from damaging protests that erupted during the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black, by a white policeman from Kenosha.
Grosskreutz had a gun in his hand, arms raised, when Rittenhouse fired, shooting him in the bicep. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskreutz, who had his hands in the air just before Rittenhouse shot him, why he didn’t shoot first.
“That’s not the kind of person I am. That’s not what I was there for,” he said. “It’s not who I am. And certainly not someone I want to be.
Grosskreutz said he was wearing a hat that night marked “paramedic” and was carrying medical supplies, in addition to a loaded pistol. Grosskreutz said his license to carry a concealed weapon had expired and he did not have a valid license that night.
“I believe in the Second Amendment. I am for the right of people to bear and bear arms, ”he said, explaining why he was armed. “And that night was no different from any other day. These are keys, a phone, a wallet, a gun.
When the prosecutor released a graphic video of Grosskreutz’s seriously injured arm, with much of his bicep torn off by the bullet, a few jurors appeared to wince and look away from monitors in the courtroom.
At the defense table, Rittenhouse took detailed notes when Grosskreutz spoke about when he was shot. Rittenhouse also showed little emotion when looking at the footage.
Earlier that night, Grosskreutz was recording on his cell phone for a live broadcast when he heard gunshots a few blocks away. He heard people screaming for a medic and started running towards the sound of gunfire.
Video released in court showed Grosskreutz stumbling upon Rittenhouse as Rittenhouse was fleeing. He asked him what he was doing and if anyone had been shot. Rittenhouse replied, “I’m going to the police. I did not do anything. At the time, Grosskreutz said, he thought Rittenhouse said, “I work with the police.”
Grosskreutz ran with Rittenhouse for a few seconds, then turned to go help the one who could have been shot. But then Grosskreutz turned to Rittenhouse because he heard people say Rittenhouse shot someone.
In the courtroom, Rittenhouse kept his eyes on Grosskreutz as he testified. When questioned by prosecutors, Grosskreutz turned and looked directly at the jurors, who were seated a few feet away.
A juror nodded in agreement when the judge asked the jury to disregard Grosskreutz’s reference to Rittenhouse’s murder of another protester as “murder.” “
Grosskreutz, who was trained as a paramedic, said he volunteered as a medic during protests in Milwaukee in the days following George Floyd’s death below the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. Grosskreutz said he had attended around 75 protests before the night he was shot, offering help to anyone in need of medical attention.
He said he provided medical assistance to around 10 other people that night in Kenosha.
Grosskreutz is suing the city and county in federal court, alleging police allowed violence by allowing armed militia to roam the streets during the protest.
Rittenhouse is white, as are the three men he shot dead, but the case has raised polarizing questions about racial justice, policing, self-defense and the right to bear arms.
Prosecutors described Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed. Rittenhouse’s attorney has argued that he acted in self-defense, suggesting among other things that Rittenhouse feared his weapon was taken and used against him.
During the first week of Rittenhouse’s trial, witnesses said the first man to be shot, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was “hyperaggressive” and “acted belligerently” that night and threatened to kill Rittenhouse in at some point.
A witness said Rosenbaum was shot after chasing Rittenhouse and rushing at the young man’s rifle.
Rosenbaum’s murder sparked the bloodshed which followed moments later: Rittenhouse shot dead Anthony Huber, a 26-year-old protester seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then injures Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Forliti of Minneapolis.
Find full AP coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse