Kenosha, Wis. (AP) — The survivor and volunteer medic testified after Kyle Rittenhouse shot him in the streets of Kenosha that he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse, but didn’t mean it and had no intention of firing it Was.
Gage Groskretz, the third and last person killed During a night of turbulent racial-justice protests by Rittenhouse in the summer of 2020, Rittenhouse’s murder trial took the stand on Monday and described how he drew his pistol after the bloodshed began.
“I thought the defendant was an active shooter,” said Grosskretz, 27. When asked what was going through his mind when the 17-year-old got close to Rittenhouse, he said, “That I was going to die.”
Rittenhouse shot Grosskretz in the arm, tearing off much of his biceps—or “vaporizing” it, as the witness put it.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is being tried for the murders of two others and injuring Grosskretz. The young cadet, a one-time police from Antioch, Illinois, went to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to protect assets. From the violent demonstrations that shot and killed Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Testimony was expected to continue Tuesday with the state’s case nearing its end.
Prosecutors have painted Rittenhouse as an inducer of bloodshed. His lawyers have argued that he acted in self-defense. If convicted of the most serious charges against him, he could face life imprisonment.
Under questioning from prosecutors, Grosskretz said he had raised his hands as he was locked up in Rittenhouse and did not intend to shoot him. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Grosskretz why he had not fired earlier.
“I’m not that kind of person. That’s why I wasn’t out,” he said. “It’s not who I am. And certainly not someone I want to be.”
But during the cross-examination, Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Cory Chirafisi, asked: “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, stepped on him… that he fired, right?”
“Right,” replied Grosskretz. The defense also submitted a photo that showed Groskretz pointing a gun at Rittenhausen, who was on the ground with his rifle at Groskretz.
Under follow-up questioning from the prosecutor, Grosskretz stated that he did not intend to point his weapon at Rittenhouse.
Wisconsin’s self-defense law allows someone to use lethal force only if “necessary to prevent imminent death or major bodily harm.” The jury must decide whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such distress and whether that belief was justified under the circumstances.
Grosskretz said he went to the protests in Kenosha to work as a medic, wearing a hat that said “paramedic” and carrying medical supplies in addition to a loaded pistol. He said his permit to carry a concealed carry weapon had expired and that he did not have a valid weapon that night.
“I believe in the Second Amendment. I am for the right of the people to carry and bear arms,” he said, explaining why he was armed. “And that night was no different from any other day. It’s keys, phone, wallet, gun.”
He said he swung into action after seeing Rittenhouse kill a man just a few feet away—the other man Rittenhouse fatally shot that night.
While Grosskretz said he never verbally threatened Rittenhouse, defense attorney Chirafisi said people are not required to use words to threaten others. They can do this with their actions, “like running after them across the street with a loaded shotgun,” Chirafisi said. Grosskretz denied that he was stalking Rittenhouse.
Chirafisi also said that Grosskretz lied when he initially told several police officers that he dropped his weapon.
In addition, Chirafisi pointed to Grosskretz’s lawsuit against the city of Kenosha, in which he alleged that police enabled violence by allowing an armed militia to run through the streets during demonstrations.
“If Mr. Rittenhouse is to blame, your chances of getting 10 million bucks are better, right?” Chirafisi said.
Chirafisi also asked Grosskretz if he told his former roommate that his only regret was “not hitting the kid and hesitating to pull out the gun before emptying the whole mag.” Grosskretz declined to say so.
Grosskretz, who was trained as a paramedic, testified that he volunteered as a medic at protests in Milwaukee in the days following the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. participated from. Grosskretz said he participated in about 75 protests the night before. was shot, offering help to anyone in need of medical attention.
While Rittenhouse is white, as she was shot, the case has sparked a racially fraught debate. There was unrest in America that summer over vigilance, the right to bear arms, and police violence against black people.
Last week, trial witnesses testified that the first person to be shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum that night was “over-aggressive” and “acting in a belligerent manner” and that he threatened to kill Rittenhouse at one point. Was.
A witness said Rosenbaum was shot after chasing Rittenhouse and lunged for the young man’s rifle..
Rosenbaum’s murder triggered the bloodshed that followed moments later: Rittenhouse killed Anthony Huber, a 26-year-old protester seen on bystander video, hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then injured Grosskretz.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Forlity from Minneapolis.
Get the AP’s full coverage on Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse