Suspect seen at front row of Trump rally
A teenager has been arrested on murder charges after he allegedly opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters, killing two and seriously injuring another.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is accused of killing two people with an assault rifle and injuring another man at violent Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old's social media is littered with #BlueLivesMatter posts, a hashtag Americans have adopted in support of the police force.
Mr Rittenhouse is also a big fan of US President Donald Trump, attending a rally less than six months before the alleged shooting.
In a video posted to his own TikTok, Mr Rittenhouse filmed a section of the speech at the rally. And in media footage from the event, the teenager can be seen sitting in the front row.
Journalist Richie McGinniss also unknowingly interviewed Mr Rittenhouse just hours before the alleged murders.
"If people are getting injured, our job is to protect this business and part of my job is to also help people," Mr Rittenhouse said.
"If somebody is hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself obviously, but I also have my med kit."
I interviewed the alleged shooter before the violence started.— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) August 26, 2020
Full video coming soon: pic.twitter.com/G3dVOJozN7
The alleged murders occurred in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha, three days after African American man Jacob Blake was repeatedly shot in his back in another apparently unjustified police shooting to rock the US.
After the police shooting, which was filmed by a neighbour and shared on social media, violent clashes erupted around the US city with Mr Trump now sending in additional federal forces.
Then, late on Tuesday, the furious protests took a tragic turn when Mr Rittenhouse, wearing civilian clothes, allegedly approached Black Lives Matter demonstrators and opened fire with an assault rifle.
Kenosha city police chief Daniel Miskins confirmed that two men, aged 26 and 36, had been killed by the shooter on Tuesday night and another, also 26, injured by gunfire.
"This morning Kenosha County authorities issued an arrest warrant for the individual responsible for the incident, charging him with first degree intentional homicide," police in Antioch, Illinois said. The Illinois town is around 30km south of Kenosha.
"The suspect in this incident, a 17-year-old Antioch resident, is currently in custody of the Lake County Judicial System pending an extradition hearing," police added.
Kenosha is now enforcing a 7pm to 7am curfew until Sunday, hoping it will bring some calm to the city.
Armed vigilantes flocked to the protests on Tuesday, telling police they were there to defend private property.
Video footage taken at the time showed one of the vigilantes - believed to be the 17-year-old - shooting at protesters with an assault rifle and apparently hitting two who tried to stop him.
In the footage, the shooter is then seen walking down the street freely, gun slung across his chest, while protesters scatter and police vehicles drive past him.
Mr Trump said yesterday he would be deploying hundreds more federal troops to Kenosha to "restore law and order".
...TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
But local officials said they already had hundreds of police from around the state, some 250 national guard troops, and FBI and federal marshals helping them with the situation.
"I know people are looking for justice," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth in a press briefing.
But he stressed that people had to obey the curfew.
"We've got more resources coming in," he said. "We're not going to put up with what we saw Monday night," when cars and buildings were burned by protesters.
- with wires
Originally published as Suspect seen at front row of Trump rally