Kyle Rittenhouse testifies in his own defense

By Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:20 PM ET, Wed November 10, 2021
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11:39 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Court calls recess after Rittenhouse breaks down while describing night of the shooting


Kyle Rittenhouse — the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer — broke down on the stand as he was questioned about the night of the shooting.

Rittenhouse, who is on trial on homicide charges, is testifying in his own defense. His defense team has argued he acted in self-defense when he opened fire.

The judge called for a brief break after Rittenhouse became emotional.

11:32 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse testifies man he shot "ambushed" him

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Kyle Rittenhouse testified that the night of the shooting, after speaking to a friend on the phone, he started running toward the Car Source to put out the fires that were being set at the business.

He said that as he was running, shooting victim Joseph Rosenbaum "came out from behind the car and ambushed me."

Rittenhouse continued to narrate his attempt to get back to the Car Source where he was earlier that night. He said that as he was running, some protesters yelled at him, and he responded "friendly."

As Rittenhouse continued to describe these moments he started to break down on the stand in tears.

"I look over my shoulder, and Mr. Rosenbaum was now running from my right side, and I was cornered front of me...There were people right there," Rittenhouse said, struggling to get the words out.

His attorney, Mark Richards, told him, "Take a deep breath, Kyle."

When it became clear that Rittenhouse was going to continue to have a hard time speaking, the judge decided to take a break.

Rittenhouse's testimony is expected to continue when court resumes.

11:47 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse testifies that shooting victim Joseph Rosenbaum threatened to kill him

From CNN's Mike Hayes

(Mark Hertzberg/Pool/AP)
(Mark Hertzberg/Pool/AP)

Kyle Rittenhouse testified that before he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, that Rosenbaum threatened to kill him.

Rittenhouse said that he encountered Rosenbaum in the streets in Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020. Rittenhouse said that he and another person saw Rosenbaum "walking with a steel chain and he had a blue mask around his face." 

"He was just mad about something," Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse claimed that he was seeing if any people at the protest "needed medical help" when he testified that Rosenbaum screamed at him "if I catch any of you f***ers alone, I'm going to f***ing kill you."

Rittenhouse said he was present in front of the Car Source business when he heard Rosenbaum levy more threats at him and the group he was with.

"He was screaming — he said, 'I'm going to cut your f***ing hearts out' — I'm not going to repeat the second word — but kill you, N-word," Rittenhouse testified.

Asked by his defense attorney if he observed Rosenbaum damage any property, Rittenhouse claimed he observed Rosenbaum tip a trailer and a port-a-potty over.

Rittenhouse's testimony is ongoing.

11:17 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says he gave his bulletproof vest away because he planned on helping with first aid at protest

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

During his testimony, defendant Kyle Rittenhouse said that on the day of the shooting, he was contacted by Nicholas Smith, who was employed at the Car Source dealership, and asked if he wanted help "watch over" the car dealership.

"Nick Smith, once we picked him up — he wanted to go to a bank to withdraw money. And the bank was closed. He was like, 'Hey, would you guys like to come with me and help watch over the Car Source, make sure there's no fires or anything?'"

Rittenhouse continued, "I said, 'OK.' I said, 'Here, Nick, I don't really need my bulletproof vest. I'm going to be helping people with first aid, so I gave him my bulletproof vest."

11:44 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse tells jury he is certified in basic life support

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)

Kyle Rittenhouse testified that he is certified in basic life support, is a certified lifeguard and swim instructor.

He said he is certified to perform CPR, and to use a defibrillator.

Rittenhouse said prior to the shootings, his hobbies included swimming, working as a lifeguard, and “hanging out with friends, going to the beach, just normal teenage stuff."

He also said he was a police explorer and a firefighter emergency medical technician cadet.

Rittenhouse said he lives with his mother and two sisters.

11:07 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse testifies that his bulletproof vest was issued to him by police

Kyle Rittenhouse testified that his bulletproof vest was issued to him by a police department in Illinois and he did not buy it himself.

Rittenhouse — the teenager who killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer — testified that he gave the vest to a friend ahead of the protest.

"Why does a 17-year-old kid have a bulletproof vest?" Rittenhouse's defense attorney asked him. The teenager is on trial on homicide charges.

"It was issued to me by the Grayslake Police Department," he testified.

"You didn't purchase it?" the lawyer asked.

"No, I did not," Rittenhouse added.

Following the 2020 shooting, Grayslake, Illinois, Police Chief Phillip L. Perlini said the suspect in the shooting was a former public safety cadet. Grayslake is about 30 miles from Kenosha.

11:05 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Jurors observed appearing "attentive" and some taking "extensive" notes as Rittenhouse testifies

Jurors were sent out of the room just before Kyle Rittenhouse began testifying on Wednesday morning while Judge Bruce Schroeder explained Rittenhouse's rights to remain silent and the potential risks of testifying, according to a pool reporter in court.

As jurors came back in to the courtroom, they filed by Rittenhouse on the witness stand.

As Rittenhouse began answering questions, jurors appeared "attentive," some appearing to take "extensive" notes on brown clipboards balanced on their laps, according to the pool reporter.

10:48 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse testifies he did not go to Kenosha to look for trouble

From CNN's Mike Hayes


Defendant Kyle Rittenhouse is testifying in his ongoing murder trial.

Asked by his attorney Mark Richards if on Aug. 25, 2020, he came to downtown Kenosha to look for trouble, the 18-year-old said, "No."

Rittenhouse killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. He is on trial on homicide charges.

10:50 a.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Judge reads Kyle Rittenhouse his rights before he testifies

From CNN's Carma Hassan


Kyle Rittenhouse had his rights read by Judge Bruce Schroeder after he was called to testify by his defense attorneys.

Rittenhouse said "yes, your honor" when asked if he understood.

He is wearing a navy suit and tie and a white shirt.