UPDATED: 1:30 p.m. ET —
Officials arrested and were set to charge a 17-year-old male with first-degree murder for a deadly shooting rampage that killed at least two people and injured at least one other at a protest for a police shooting of an unarmed Black man last weekend in Wisconsin. Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday in Illinois, according to a tweet from USA Today reporter Nick Penzenstadler.
Penzenstadler also tweeted that complaint ticket in Illinois said Rittenhouse “fled the state of Wisconsin with the intent to avoid prosecution for (homicide).”
The person who was seen on video firing a rifle Tuesday night at people during a protest over the police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Wisconsin has been identified as a white teenager affiliated with police, according to unconfirmed reports on social media.
As of Wednesday morning, police in the town of Kenosha had not announced an official suspect. However, social media sleuths were claiming that the shooter is Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who allegedly has an affiliation with local law enforcement. Photos purportedly of Rittenhouse flooded social media timelines as “AR-15” was a top trending topic on Twitter in reference to the type of firearm allegedly used in the shooting that killed at least two people and injured at least one other. At least one shooting victim was shot in the head.
People had legally assembled in Kenosha Tuesday for the third straight night of protests following the police shooting Jacob Blake in the back multiple times in the back after he was walking away from the police to enter his car on Sunday. That was when an unidentified “young White man” was shown on video shooting protesters at point-blank range in the middle of a street.
Tweets claimed Rittenhouse has some type of affiliation with the Kenosha Police Department, from where officers were dispatched Sunday because of a “domestic disturbance.” However, witnesses say Blake wasn’t involved. Police still shot him at least seven times in the back at very close range.
A video purportedly showing Rittenhouse talking about his “non-lethal” weapons was making he rounds on social media Wednesday morning.
There is also unverified video footage on social media purporting to show “the Kenosha shooter being offered water from the Kenosha police” and claiming “The police is working with the shooting militia.”
Another shooting victim at Tuesday night’s protest was shot in the chest, according to the Associated Press. None of the victims had been publicly identified as of Wednesday morning.
Tuesday night was the second time in as many nights that a white man was reported to have shot at people protesting police violence.
A protester was shot Monday night in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, as a group of activists was walking from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. to participate in the “Get Off Our Necks” Commitment March against police brutality on Friday, the 57th anniversary of the legendary March on Washington when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream Speech.” Activist Frank Nitty posted a Facebook live video claiming that “some white man came out and started shooting at us.”
However, no one died in the Pennsylvania shooting, unlike in Wisconsin Tuesday night.
All of the above was unfolding amid months of nationwide protests against police violence and racism and what is often times the deadly combination of both following the high profile police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.