Teenager charged with homicide after two shot dead at Jacob Blake protests

A 17-year-old has been charged with homicide after two people were shot dead during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Kyle Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, around 15 miles from Kenosha, where Mr Blake and the victims were shot, is described as a “police admirer”.

He was arrested in Illinois on suspicion of first degree intentional homicide on Wednesday.

Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Wisconsin. Pic: Ben Crump
Image:Jacob Blake, a black man shot by police in Wisconsin. Pic: Ben Crump
Julia Jackson, mother of Jacob Blake, gave a powerful speech calling for healing

Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake who was left paralysed in a US police shooting, gave an emotional speech calling for healing while condemning violence.

Two people were killed in Kenosha on Tuesday night after a young white man who was caught on mobile phone video, opened fire in the middle of the street with a semi-automatic rifle.

The identities of the victims have not yet been released, but they were a 26-year-old from Silver Lake and 36-year-old from Kenosha, NBC said, adding that a 26-year-old from West Allis was injured and is expected to survive.

One fatal victim was shot in the head and the other in the chest, Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Video broadcast on The Rundown Live showed a man believed to be the suspect carrying a weapon while acting as part of a militia which was protecting, its members said, a car dealership.

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At one point in the video, someone can be heard, but not seen, saying, “I’m Kyle”.

Witness accounts and video show the gunman first shot someone at a car dealership, then jogged away, stumbled and fell in the street, and opened fire again as members of the crowd closed in on him.

Flares go off in front of a Kenosha Country Sheriff Vehicle as demonstrators take part in a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S. August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Image:Flares go off in front of a Kenosha Country Sheriff Vehicle during Tuesday’s protest

“I just killed somebody,” the gunman could be heard saying at one point during the shooting rampage that erupted just before midnight.

Witness Julio Rosas, said that two people jumped on the shooter when he stumbled and, as they struggled, the man began firing indiscriminately.

The rifle, Mr Rosas said, “was being jerked around in all directions”.

According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the young man responsible for the shootings walk past them with a rifle over his shoulder as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

A man is shot in his arm during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pic: Brendan Gutenschwager/Reuters
Image:A man is shot in his arm during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pic: Brendan Gutenschwager/Reuters

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers responded to the killings by drafting 500 members of the National Guard into the Kenosha area to support local law enforcement, doubling the number of troops sent in.

The governor’s office said he was working with other states to bring in additional National Guard troops and law officers.

Mr Blake, a black man who was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday, is recovering in hospital and is conscious, his family has said.

But he is paralysed from the waist down and his lawyers said it will take “a miracle” for him to walk again.

Black man shot dead in Wisconsin

A black man named Jacob Blake is in a serious condition after being shot seven times at close range by police in Wisconsin.

Mr Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said her son would be “very unpleased” if he could see the violence that had befallen the city since he was shot.

She added: “I’m really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your heart – citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians – do Jacob justice on this level and examine your heart.

Mr Evers said in a statement released before charges were announced: “I want to be very clear: we should not tolerate violence against any person.

“I’m grateful there has already been swift action to arrest one person involved. The individual or individuals whose actions resulted in this tragic loss of life must be held accountable.

“A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again. I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night.

“We must turn from violence and remember that any single act of injustice against one person is less justice for us all.

“We cannot let the hateful actions of a few designed to create chaos distract us from our pursuit for a more fair, equitable, and accountable state and country for Jacob Blake and the many others who deserve justice.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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