Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Kenosha shooter, is claiming that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed two people and wounded another while he was playing pretend police officer during protests against police brutality in the city last week. Rittenhouse has also seen support from many conservatives who viewed him as a peacekeeper during the riots. However, new video footage has emerged which illustrates that he has a history of violence. The video shows Rittenhouse punching a girl multiple times in the back of the head during an altercation.
The video was reportedly taken on July 1st, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and shows Rittenhouse jumping into a fight between two girls before viciously punching one of the girls as hard as he can. Bystanders can be heard cheering him on saying "Go, Kyle, go," while others can be heard expressing their shock about his actions.
For the record: The recorders of two videos of this fight confirmed for me that the person in the red-white-and-blue trunks is Rittenhouse.
— Reporter Adam Rogan (@could_be_rogan) August 29, 2020
Eventually, some of the bystanders jumped in to defend the girl that Rittenhouse was attacking, causing him to flee very quickly. It is still unclear how the fight began or how Rittenhouse knew the other people involved. In the video, Rittenhouse appears to be wearing the same pair of American flag-themed crocs that he wore in some of the photos on his Facebook page.
kyle rittenhouse getting jumped AFTER punching a girl pic.twitter.com/HFyyhdX2m4
— Kraze (@wannabekraze) August 29, 2020
Former classmates of Rittenhouse at Lakes Community High School told VICE News that he was notorious for having a bad temper and going out of his way to start arguments with people who he perceived of having left-wing political opinions.
"He was definitely in your face and pushed his views hella,” said one classmate.
“I personally believe he went to Wisconsin with the intent to kill,” another said.
Multiple students at the school said that they always thought of him as a potential school shooter.
“[Rittenhouse] went to middle school with my little sister and she said that everyone always thought of him to be a possible future shooter … and so did I when I met him in high school,” one student said.
Fellow students also described him as having a strange obsession with police, President Donald Trump, and guns.
Rittenhouse had traveled to the protests with a militia group that organized online and claimed to be assisting police and protecting private property during the demonstrations. The details of exactly what happened are still being investigated and debated, but at some point during the protest, Rittenhouse shot a protester multiple times in the back, and in the back of the head.
Rittenhouse then began to try to get away from the area, but protesters who witnessed the shooting chased after him and tried to stop him. When the group caught up with Rittenhouse, another person was shot and killed after a short scuffle. After that, Rittenhouse was able to walk right past the police and leave the city. In one of the videos taken by witnesses, Rittenhouse can be heard saying “I just killed somebody.”
Rittenhouse is currently facing two felony charges of homicide and a felony attempted homicide charge He has also been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, which is a misdemeanor.