Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of two people and the wounding of another in Kenosha, Wis. in late August, was released from jail on Friday after posting $2 million in bail.
“Kyle is free, he is totally innocent, and it’s about time,” said his attorney John Pierce. “He is totally innocent, and we are going to prove it.”
Pierce said former Special Operations service members were hired to provide security for Rittenhouse.
In Wisconsin, bail has to be paid in the full cash amount. Pierce said the $2 million came from funds raised by Fight Back, an organization whose website said is tasked to “protect and defend the constitutional rights, livelihoods and property of people and businesses that are being targeted and destroyed.” The organization was founded by Lin Wood, another Rittenhouse attorney.
In a Twitter post Friday, Wood characterized Rittenhouse as “a political prisoner” and said the organization would continue to raise money for his defense costs. He also credited “NYPD Blue” actor Ricky Schroder and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell with “putting us over the top.”
Two other conservative organizations, the National Association For Gun Rights and American Wolf 689, have raised a total of $105,000 directly for living expenses for Rittenhouse’s family, which left its home in Antioch, Ill., for an undisclosed location, because of harassment and death threats, Pierce said.
Rittenhouse has been in custody in Kenosha since Oct. 30, when he was extradited to Wisconsin from Lake County, Ill., just across the state line, where he was arrested Aug. 26.
Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting deaths of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. He has also been charged with attempted first-degree homicide in the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz. The shootings took place during street protests related to the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by a Kenosha police officer two days earlier.
Rittenhouse attorneys say the teenager was acting in self-defense.
Bail conditions set at Rittenhouse’s last court hearing included not making contact with families of the victims or possessing a weapon. His next hearing is Dec. 3.
On Thursday, Kenosha police detective Ben Antaramian testified in court that Dominick Black, a friend of Rittenhouse’s, told investigators that he had bought the AR-15 assault rifle used in the shootings. Black, 19, is charged with two counts of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a person under 18. According to the criminal complaint, Rittenhouse gave Black money to buy the weapon in May from a hardware store in Ladysmith, a town in the far north of Wisconsin. They then went shooting with the weapon that day, and the weapon was stored in Black’s stepfather’s house in Kenosha, the complaint says.
Rittenhouse could not buy a gun because he did not have an Illinois firearm owner identification card. Gun possession in Illinois is prohibited for people younger than 21 unless they get written consent from a parent or legal guardian.
Antaramian said that during a second interview, Black provided “a conflicting statement,” saying that instead of giving Rittenhouse the gun the day of the shooting, Rittenhouse took the gun without his knowledge. According to the complaint, Black’s stepfather told police he did not know the gun was missing from his house. It had been stored in a locked safe but was taken out the previous day when rioting broke out in Kenosha.
Black “skirted around issue that Kyle took it without him looking and he made no attempt to stop Kyle from taking it at that point,” Antaramian said.
The day before the shooting, Rittenhouse, who lived in nearby Antioch, Ill., worked his job at a Wisconsin recreation center outside Kenosha and then stayed overnight at Black’s house.
Black’s next court appearance is Jan. 13.
In an interview, Wendy Rittenhouse, the teenager’s mother, described Black “as a son.”
“I support Dominick for what he’s going through. I’ll always love Dominick. He is part of my family, and he will always be part of my family,” she said.