Monday, January 30, 2023

Rittenhouse shooting victim: Thought ‘I was going to die’

by Michael Tarm, Scott Bauer and Amy Forlitti

Kenosha, Wis. (AP) — A witness in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial testified Monday that he confronted Rittenhouse with his own gun to try to stop the bloodshed, and thought he was going to die because it was closed. the young man.

Gage Grosskretz, who said he went to a racial-justice protest in the streets of Kenosha to serve as a volunteer medic that night, was shot by Rittenhouse and grievously wounded in the arm.

Grosskretz, 27, swung into action after watching Rittenhouse kill a man just a few feet away—the other man Rittenhouse fatally shot that night.

“I thought the defendant was an active shooter,” Grosskretz said, explaining how he had retrieved the pistol he had concealed.

Asked what was going through his mind as the 17-year-old approached Rittenhouse, he said, “I was about to die.”

Rittenhouse, now 18, is on trial for murdering two people and injuring Grosskretz in Kenosha during a turbulent protest in the summer of 2020.

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 attempt to protect property from the damaging demonstrations that took place during the shooting. Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.

Grosskretz was holding a gun, his arms raised, when Rittenhouse shot him in the bicep. Prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Groskretz, whose hand was in the air just before Rittenhouse was shot, why he didn’t shoot first.

“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.”

Grosskretz said that he was wearing a hat that night read “Paramedic” and was carrying medical supplies in addition to a loaded pistol. Grosskretz said that his permit to carry a concealed weapon had expired and that he did not have a valid permit 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.”

When prosecutors played a graphic video of Grosskretz’s mortally wounded arm, in which most of his bicep was torn by a bullet, some jurors looked away from the monitors in the courtroom.

At the defense table, Rittenhouse took detailed notes when Grosskretz talked about the moment he was shot. Rittenhouse otherwise displayed little emotion as he looked at the footage.

Earlier that night, Grosskretz was recording for a livestream on his cellphone when he heard gunshots a few blocks away. He heard people shouting for a medicine, and started running towards the sound of gunfire.

Video played in court showed Grosskretz arriving at Rittenhouse as Rittenhouse was on the run. He asked him what he was doing and if anyone got shot. Rittenhouse replied: “I’m going to the police. I didn’t do anything.” At the time, Grosskretz testified, he thought Rittenhouse said, “I’m dealing with the police.”

Grosskretz ran with Rittenhouse for a few seconds, then rushed to help whoever was shot. But then Grosskretz turned back to Rittenhouse because he heard people say that Rittenhouse had shot someone.

In the courtroom, Rittenhouse kept his eye on Grosskretz as he testified. Questioned by prosecutors, Grosskretz turned and looked directly at the jurors, who were seated only a few feet away.

A juror nodded his head in agreement when the judge directed the jury to disregard what Groskretz referred to as “murder,” the fatal shooting of another demonstrator at Rittenhouse. “

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.

He said he provided medical aid to about 10 other people that night in Kenosha.

Grosskretz is suing the city and county in federal court, alleging police enabled the violence by allowing armed militias to run through the streets during the demonstration.

Rittenhouse is white, as is the case with the three men he shot, but the case has raised polarizing questions about racial justice, police, vigilance and the right to bear arms.

Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed. Rittenhouse’s lawyer has argued that he acted in self-defense, suggesting among other things that Rittenhouse feared his weapon would be taken and used against him.

In the first week of Rittenhouse’s trial, witnesses testified that the first man to shoot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, had acted “overly aggressive” and “combatively” that night and threatened to kill Rittenhouse at one point. .

A witness said Rosenbaum was shot after pursuing Rittenhouse and the young man had lunges for his rifle.

Rosenbaum’s murder set in motion the bloodshed that took place moments later: Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Huber, a 26-year-old protester seen on bystander video, hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then injured Grosskretz.

If found guilty, Rittenhouse could face a life sentence.


Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Forlity from Minneapolis.


Get the AP’s full coverage on Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial:

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