(AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings that became a scrutinized case in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism, and racial injustice.
Rittenhouse, 18, cried and hugged one of his attorneys upon hearing the verdict.
He had been charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and reckless endangering after killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over police violence against Black people in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he went from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha after businesses in the city were ransacked and burned over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer.
Carrying a weapon that authorities said was illegally purchased for the underage Rittenhouse, he joined other armed citizens in what he said was an effort to protect property and provide medical aid.
Rittenhouse testified: “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself.”
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) November 19, 2021