Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of killing of two people and shooting another in 2020 during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has asked a court to order the release of the gun he used because he wants to properly destroy it, according to a court document filed by his attorney.
Rittenhouse, now 19, was tried on first-degree intentional homicide and four other felony charges stemming from the shootings that unfolded during protests against police brutality in August 2020.
A court document filed Wednesday by Rittenhouse’s attorney requests the release of his personal property that was seized by police when he was arrested.
“Mr. Rittenhouse further wishes to ensure that the firearm in question is properly destroyed,” attorney Mark Richards writes in the document filed in Kenosha County Circuit Court.
Rittenhouse, 17 at the time of the shootings, said he fired in self-defense during the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in Kenosha. The contentious case highlighted a national divide between those who saw Rittenhouse as a vigilante and others who viewed him as a citizen taking up arms to protect businesses from looters and rioters.
The AR-15 firearm used in the shootings was purchased by Dominick Black, who was dating Rittenhouse’s sister at the time. Rittenhouse was too young to purchase and possess a gun, but he agreed to pay for the firearm, Black testified in November at the trial.
Rittenhouse is the lawful owner of the firearm “per the verbal contract enacted with Dominick Black,” Rittenhouse’s attorney argues in the court document requesting the release of the gun.
The attorney also requested back several other items, including a 30-round capacity magazine, bullets, an iPhone and some clothing.
Testimony on how the shooting happened
As unrest in Kenosha unfolded on August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse and Black each grabbed a weapon and ammunition and went downtown to protect a car dealership, where about six or seven other armed people had gathered, according to the pair’s testimony at Rittenhouse’s trial in November.
Black made his way to the roof of the dealership because he felt being on the ground was too dangerous, he testified. Black heard gunshots in the distance in an area where Rittenhouse was, he said. And then he got a phone call.
“I didn’t believe the gunshots were actually his until I got a phone call. I answered it, and he just said, ‘I shot somebody, I shot somebody,’ and then hung up right away,” Black testified.
Rittenhouse returned to the dealership, and they both drove to Rittenhouse’s home in Antioch, just across the Illinois border. Rittenhouse surrendered to police the next morning.
At the trial, Rittenhouse gave emotional testimony in which he said he was defending himself when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, who threw a plastic bag at him and was unarmed.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he testified. Rittenhouse feared Rosenbaum – who didn’t touch him that night – would take his gun and kill people, he said.
“He was chasing me. I was alone. He threatened to kill me earlier that night. I didn’t want to have to shoot him,” Rittenhouse testified. “I pointed it at him because he kept running at me, and I didn’t want him to chase me.”