Last Thursday, the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old militia member accused of killing two men and injuring a third during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in late August, failed to drop two of six charges against his client.
Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating rejected Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards’ attempt to have the charges of underage weapons possession and reckless endangerment dropped.
Rittenhouse argued that an exception in Wisconsin law allowed his client to carry a firearm even though state law prohibits the possession of a dangerous weapon by minors. He also argued that the reckless endangerment charge brought against Rittenhouse did not specify how he endangered nearby journalist Richard McGinnis, even though he allegedly fired shots at him, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
“We do not allow teenagers to run around with guns. It’s as simple as that. The statute is clear,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told The Journal Sentinel. “That’s why we have this law, because teenagers should not be allowed to run around with dangerous weapons because bad things happen.
Other charges facing Rittenhouse include the first-degree premeditated murder of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, the ruthless first-degree murder of 26-year-old Anthony Huber, the attempted first-degree premeditated murder of Gaige Grosskreutz, and the ruthless endangerment of another demonstrator by shooting.
Rittenhouse said he drove to Kenosha to stand guard with other armed men and to protect a gas station near the courthouse where riots broke out following a protest against the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man, by police on August 23. He claimed that he murdered the two men and injured the third in self-defense.
At the time of the shooting, Rittenhouse was openly carrying a military style semi-automatic rifle. The alleged shooting was videotaped and then filmed as Rittenhouse calmly walked past the police. Police arrested Rittenhouse the following day at his home in Antioch, Illinois.
Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail was paid in part by conservative My Pillow CEO Michael Lindell and former child actor Ricky Schroder from 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons. According to NBC News, Rittenhouse faces up to 6 years in prison per count.
The third man injured in the shootout was transported to a hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
After the shooting, the human rights organization Amnesty International called for a national repeal of all “open carry” laws that allow gun owners to carry firearms, such as rifles or pistols, openly in public.
Wisconsin law allows persons over the age of 18 to carry loaded firearms even if they do not have a firearms license.
Washington Newsday has contacted Richards’ office for comment.