Rittenhouse shooting survivor says he tried to disarm American teenager

The only protester shot by Kyle Rittenhouse who survived testified Monday that he believed the American teenager was an “active shooter” and was trying to disarm Rittenhouse when a bullet from the teenager’s semi-automatic rifle severed part of his arm.

Rittenhouse, 18, has been charged with the deaths of two men and with attempting to assassinate Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, during the racial justice protests on August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where police shot and wounded a black man, Jacob Blake.

Grosskreutz, a former paramedic, was carrying a Glock pistol and a medical kit that night. He said he followed Rittenhouse because he heard gunshots and saw protesters chasing him. He thought that he might need to provide medical help.

“I thought the defendant was an active shooter,” Grosskreutz, 27, told the jury.

Grosskreutz’s testimony was deemed critical as the trial entered its second week. It represents the only opportunity for attorneys on both sides to question a survivor and obtain testimony about his thinking and actions, which is crucial in determining whether Rittenhouse had reason to fear for his life.

Last week, several witnesses gave testimony that appeared to support the teenager’s self-defense claim.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers tried to portray Grosskreutz as dishonest, noting that he had failed to wear a gun in his initial interview with police.

When questioned, he acknowledged that he was pointing his pistol in the general direction of Rittenhouse when the teenager fired. Grosskreutz said he never intended to use his gun.

Grosskreutz said he exchanged a few words with Rittenhouse when the teenager passed him on the street after hearing gunshots. He did not know at the time that Rittenhouse had just shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum a few blocks away.

As protesters chased Rittenhouse, some shouted things like “Stick his ass!” The teenager fell to the ground and shot an unidentified man who kicked him. He then shot 26-year-old Anthony Huber, who threw a skateboard at him. Rittenhouse has been accused of killing Huber and Rosenbaum and of attempting to kill Grosskreutz. He has pleaded not guilty and is expected to testify that he acted in self-defense.

Grosskreutz, who was approaching the teenager, froze after Huber was shot, stepped back and raised his hands above his head while still holding his pistol, according to video evidence and a criminal complaint filed days later. from last year’s shootings.

Grosskreutz said Monday that while his hands were in the air he believed Rittenhouse had “repositioned” his rifle, effectively loading another bullet into the chamber so that the gun was ready to fire. Grosskreutz said he interpreted that to mean that “the defendant was not accepting my surrender.”

“At that point I felt like I had to do something to try to avoid being killed or shot,” Grosskreutz said, adding that he was thinking of trying to take the gun from Rittenhouse or stop him.


During questioning, Rittenhouse’s attorney attempted to establish that Grosskreutz had pursued the teenager with the intention of harming him, a claim that Grosskreutz denied. The lawyer also pressed Grosskreutz about why he did not tell police in an interview immediately after the shooting that he was armed.

“You ignored the fact that you ran up to him and you had a Glock pistol in your hand,” Corey Chirafisi said.

“Correct,” Grosskreutz replied.

Grosskreutz said he was taking medication and dealing with the trauma of being shot and the police omission was unintentional.

Chirafisi showed a photo around the time Rittenhouse fired to try to portray Grosskreutz as a threat, saying the teenager did not shoot when Grosskreutz’s hands were raised and only did so when he dropped his hands and moved towards Rittenhouse.

“You agree that your firearm is pointed at Mr. Rittenhouse, correct?” Chirafisi asked.

“Yes,” Grosskreutz replied.

“And once your firearm is aimed at Mr. Rittenhouse that’s when he shoots, right?” Chirafisi asked.

“No,” Grosskreutz said.

Commenting on the still image, Grosskreutz later said, “It looks like my biceps is being vaporized.”

A video shown to the jury of a freshly wounded Grosskreutz with a missing piece of biceps made the night’s violence clearer. Several jurors seemed to wince and tear their eyes away from the screen.


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