Michael Tarm, Scott Bauer and Amy Forlitti | Associated Press
KENOSHA, Wisconsin – A protester and medical volunteer injured in the streets of Kenosha by Kyle Rittenhouse revealed on Monday that he inadvertently pointed his own gun at Rittenhouse with a rifle when a young man shot him.
Gyge Grosskreutz, the third and final man shot by Rittenhouse on the night of violent racial justice protests in the summer of 2020, took a position at the Rittenhouse murder trial and recounted how he pulled out his own pistol after the bloodshed began.
“I thought the defendant was an active shooter,” said 27-year-old Grosskreutz. When asked what he thought as he approached 17-year-old Rittenhouse, he said, “That I was going to die.”
Rittenhouse shot Grosskreutz in the arm, ripping off most of his bicep – or “vaporizing” it, as the witness put it.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is facing trial on charges of killing two men and wounding Grosskreutz. A former youth police cadet from Antioch, Illinois, traveled to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and first aid kit in what he said was an attempt to protect the property from the devastating demonstrations that erupted from the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Negro. white policeman Kenosha.
During interrogation by the prosecution, Grosskreutz said that he raised his hands as he approached Rittenhouse and did not intend to shoot the young man. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskreutz why he had not fired first.
“I am not that kind of person. That’s not why I was there, ”he said. “I’m not like that. And definitely not who I would like to be. “
But during cross-examination, Rittenhouse’s attorney Corey Chirafisi asked, “It wasn’t until you pointed the gun at him that you stepped on him … he fired, right?”
“Right,” replied Grosskreutz. The defense also provided a photograph of Grosskreutz pointing a pistol at Rittenhouse, who was lying on the ground with a rifle pointed at Grosskreutz.
During the interrogation of the prosecutor, Grosskreutz stated that he did not intend to point his weapon at Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse was portrayed by prosecutors as an instigator of violence. His lawyers argued that he was acting in self-defense. He could have received a life sentence if found guilty on the most serious charges.
The Wisconsin Self-Defense Act allows someone to use lethal force only if “it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious injury.” The jury must decide whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such danger at the time, and whether that opinion was reasonable in the circumstances.
Grosskreutz said he went to the Kenosha protest to serve as a volunteer medic, wearing a “paramedic” hat and medication in addition to a loaded pistol. He said that his permit to carry a concealed weapon had expired and he had no one active that night.
“I believe in the Second Amendment. I am for the right of people to carry and bear arms, ”he said, explaining why he was armed. “And this night was no different from any other day. These are keys, a phone, a wallet, a gun. “
He said he entered the fray after seeing Rittenhouse kill a man a few feet away – the second man Rittenhouse fatally shot that night.
While Grosskreutz said he never verbally threatened Rittenhouse, Chirafisi’s lawyer said people should not use words to threaten others. They can do it by their actions, “like running after them down the street with loaded firearms,” Chirafisi said.
In cross-examination, Chirafisi attempted to portray Grosskreutz as being dishonest in his description of the moments immediately before the shot, with Chirafisi claiming that Grosskreutz was pursuing Rittenhouse with a pistol. Grosskreutz denied chasing Rittenhouse.
Chirafisi also said that Grosskreutz lied when he initially told several police officers that he had dropped his weapon.
Chirafisi also pointed to Grosskreutz’s lawsuit against the city of Kenosha, in which he claims that the police committed violence by allowing armed militias to flee the streets during a demonstration.
“If Mr. Rittenhouse is found guilty, you have a better chance of getting $ 10 million, right?” – said Chirafisi.
Chirafisi asked Grosskreutz if he had told his former roommate that his only regret was that he “didn’t kill the child and didn’t dare to pull out the pistol before letting the whole store go into him.” Grosskreutz said, “No, I never said that.”
At the defense table, Rittenhouse kept his eyes on Grosskreutz as he testified, making detailed notes as the witness spoke of the moment when he was shot.
Grosskreutz, who was trained as a paramedic, testified that he volunteered as a medic at protests in Milwaukee in the days after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis policeman in May 2020. was shot while offering help to anyone who needed medical attention.
He said that he provided medical care to about 10 other people in Kenosha that night.
Although Rittenhouse is white, like those he shot, the case sparked fierce controversy about the racial riots that broke out in the US that summer, as well as vigilance and the right to bear arms.
Last week at the Rittenhouse trial, witnesses testified that the first person to be shot, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, was “hyperaggressive” and “acted aggressively” that night and once threatened to kill Rittenhouse.
One of the witnesses said Rosenbaum was shot after chasing Rittenhouse and rushing after the young man’s rifle.
Rosenbaum’s assassination led to bloodshed, which followed moments later: Rittenhouse killed Anthony Huber, a 26-year-old protester seen in the witness video when he hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then wounded Grosskreutz.
Grosskreutz has a tattoo on his arm where he was shot. This is a common medical image of a snake wrapped around a staff, and at the top it has a banner that says “Do No Harm” and at the bottom it has a banner that says “Know the harm.”
When the prosecutor replayed a graphic video of Grosskreutz’s severely wounded arm, several of the jurors seemed to grimace and turn away.
Grosskreutz has shown that he has difficulty lifting heavy objects with his right hand and that he has loss of sensation from the biceps to the thumb.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Forliti from Minneapolis.