WARNING: This story contains graphic video and links to graphic video. Please watch at your own discretion.
A 17-year-old has been arrested after two people were fatally shot and another injured in Kenosha, Wisc., on Tuesday night, during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested in Antioch, Ill., on Wednesday, Reuters reports. He was listed as a fugitive in local court records filed in Lake County. He was wanted for first-degree intentional homicide, according to a court filing obtained by The Daily Dot.
Videos from Kenosha show a young white man firing at protesters during an encounter late Tuesday. The suspect appeared to be carrying an AR-15-style rifle and standing guard with a militia group earlier in the night, multiple videos show.
Several shots were fired near a gas station just before midnight on Tuesday after protesters clashed with police and armed vigilantes who showed up to defend the business. Two people were killed and a third victim was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Demonstrators were decrying the police shooting of Blake, a Black man officers shot in the back multiple times on Sunday afternoon while he was trying to climb into his SUV. Blake survived the incident but his father says he is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Tuesday’s deadly shootings played out over a chaotic 30 minutes just before midnight, according to police recordings obtained by Storyful.
Officers initially reported that three or four people were trying to set cars on fire near a gas station at 11:44 p.m. A few minutes later an officer reported seeing “at least four people with handguns around here.” Police reported the first gunshot victim at 11:51 p.m. and said he was being stuffed into the back of a security vehicle from the Kenosha Medical Center.
“We have somebody down in the middle of the road. CPR in progress,” an officer says at 11:52 p.m. “We’re going to need more here.”
Police then reported seeing a suspect running north. “He dropped his gun. We’re holding it now,” an officer says. An officer described the shooting incident in a report at 12:12 a.m.: “He was running southbound, turned and fired into the crowd.” Officers had reported three shooting victims by that point.
The suspected shooter was a white male with a long gun and dark pants, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel prior to the arrest .
A young man matching the suspect’s description can be seen standing guard with militiamen in videos captured at the gas station and car lot earlier in the night. One video shows him identifying himself as “Kyle,” and he can be seen getting water from riot officers in a nearby armoured vehicle. He is shown wearing dark pants, a light shirt and a black and yellow pack with a rifle strapped across his chest.
Several videos from later in the night capture the sounds of gunshots in the distance, followed by footage of a young man running down the street while protesters chase him. The man is carrying an assault-style rifle and his clothing matches the young man who called himself Kyle in the earlier video.
Videos show a protester hitting the militiaman on the head. He stumbles and falls to the ground, then hurriedly fires off a few shots with the rifle. He then fires a few more shots from a sitting position.
One of the protesters tries to walk away, then collapses on the ground and does not move.
The other protesters back away and the young man stands up and starts walking backwards. Multiple gunshots can be heard in the distance while he slowly walks away.
Police had imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on the city Tuesday night after days of protests. Officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to force a crowd of protesters out of a park and into the city streets after the curfew came into effect.
Some of the protesters dispersed but others found their way to the gas station, where a large group of primarily white militia members were standing guard. The militia members shouted at the protesters and warned them to stay away before the shooting, the New York Times reports.
Another car lot was torched during unrest on Monday night in Kenosha.
Several armed militia groups have shown up to watch Black Lives Matter protests in recent months, particularly after the death of George Floyd in May. The groups have claimed to be defending local businesses, and their encounters with protesters have been largely non-violent.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said armed groups protecting businesses are “no different than those on the protesters’ side who are walking around armed.”
Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian later stepped in to say he doesn’t want to see armed militia pitching in after the 8 p.m. curfew.
“I don’t need more guns on the streets,” he said. “Law enforcement is trained. They’re the ones responsible.”
Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.
It is legal in the state for people 18 and over to openly carry a gun, with no license required.
—With files from Reuters and The Associated Press